MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The latest crime fighting tool for the Minneapolis Police Department doesn’t involve more cops on the ground, but it does involve more eyes.

Mobile cameras have been set up around the city at spots that have seen more crime, and one of those places is Peavey Park in South Minneapolis at the corner of Franklin and Chicago.

“This particular corner of Peavey Park had the most crime of any park in the state of Minnesota up to about 16 weeks ago,” said Bob Albee, a longtime resident of the area. “It was a very hostile place.”

Gangs and drug dealers owned this spot for decades, but everything started to change when Minneapolis police put in a mobile camera. They say that crime is actually down 75 percent.

“I expected an impact from the law enforcement effort. I expected an impact from the community using the park. But I’m surprised by the impact the cameras and lights have had,” said Inspector Lucy Gerold with the Minneapolis Police Department.

The camera records footage, and an officer monitors what the camera captures. Gerold said that this camera has been a big deterrent to crime.

“People have reported to me that this is the cleanest Peavey Park has been,” she said. “The bright lights take away the shadows in the dark corners where criminals want to conduct their activity. If there’s a bright light, you can see what I’m doing. If I’m a criminal, I don’t want to be seen, so I’m going to go elsewhere, or I’m going to quit committing my crime.”

Peavy Park is not the only place in Minneapolis that is getting a mobile set of eyes.

A camera has recently been eyeing a construction site. It’s been burglarized multiple times, and police are hoping to catch the people responsible. They also put up a camera at a Minneapolis home, where retaliation was expected following a homicide.

“It’s another crime-fighting tool,” Gerold said. “We can’t be everywhere at once.”

There have been multiple community events in Peavey Park since the camera went in. Children enjoy the playground while others play ball on the field. People aren’t afraid to visit the park anymore.

“It feels a lot better to know you can be outside and be with your kids,” said Karen Wettanen, who brought her boys, Andrew and Jayden, to the park to play on Friday afternoon. “I think it makes it feel safer for the kids, for them not to come outside and ask, ‘What is that person doing?’”

The camera has helped pushed out the bad, allowing the good to flourish.

“It’s now a time that people say, ‘We have our park back,’” Albee said. “The camera is very much welcome.”

Comments (17)
  1. Kevin says:

    While I applaud the deterence of crime, I abhor the invasion of privacy. I do not think that people wish to be photographed when they are out and about. At least I don’t. It is becomming a police state.

    1. ez says:

      You don’t have a right to privacy in public, if it’s such a bad thing for you perhaps you should lock yourself in your house and never come out. Just saying.

  2. Angela says:

    I don’t mind being watched on camera if it means I’m going to be safer. I feel much more calm and relaxed knowing there is someone/something else watching my back. This “invasion of privacy” is well worth it since there are people out there who cannot seem to police themselves. Remember the riots in England a couple months ago? After they started releasing pics of criminals caught on the police cams the riots died down quickly, at least in the areas outside of London. Criminals were turning themselves in after they found out their picture was being broadcast throughout the world. Safety and greatly reduced police and legal costs, sounds good to me.

  3. Tina says:

    Black people will commit crimes no matter what.

    1. are you racist? says:

      why do u always go against black ppl .. just saying.
      if you think only black ppl commit crimes then where are all those ppl who murder their girlfriends and kill them selves too ??
      all of those sick ppl are black too ?? think before you comment something .. just saying

  4. Mike Merker says:

    Law still on the books says that if we see 3 or more indians gathered together it is a war party and can be killed.! We need to adopt that to 3 or more known gang members gathered at one time and they should be killed.
    Wake up folks! We know where the crime is! We know what neighborhoods not to drive in! Time to clean up the streets and take out every freaking gang member,drug dealer,and pimp!

    1. ez says:

      There is no such law on the books. Perhaps you should quote the Statute number if you are so sure! What is wrong with people like you?

  5. Kevin says:

    It’s great that there isn’t crime where they put the camera and lights, but (and this is going to be a shocker)… the drug dealers and gang bangers are just going to go someplace else to commit their crimes.

    1. Samuel says:

      Exactly right.

      It doesn’t deter crime, it just moves it.

  6. jan says:

    I think it’s a great idea. Sure, there will always be criminals but why not make it harder for them?

  7. vailtribe says:

    it would be better to let them be there when the park closes, because of this they just move like roaches when the lights turn on and move where the cameras aren’t.. Like on my block. which is just a block away from the peve park. we need a big sweep.. I dont know what happen they use to just swoop them up. Get a paddy wagon and just take them all down town. They need toknow that the AREA . NOT just the park is not a place to do these things. seriously though they will just .. go somewhere eles. maybe if you cant stop the drugs and the users maybe have a place for them to go.. and leave us all alone!

  8. Citizen says:

    Nice that everyone except Kevin, with whom I am in agreement right now, seems to feel they can afford to trade privacy for safety–a dubious safety, at that. When the cameras are eventually turned on innocent citizens for whatever other reason the “state” feels concern over, we will all see the start of that here. Cameras do not make you safe–it is an illusion. The cameras just make it easier to catch the guilty, if the state so chooses.

  9. maurice wesson says:

    let’s not forget the most shaiest place in Mpls; Loring Park after dark. Can we get a camera or two.


  10. blah says:

    They just moved to another corner….

  11. here says:

    Just tape it or record it, then, whenever something gets reported, they’ll know exactly what the person(s) looks like.

  12. snuzzcontrol says:

    The only thing the state will invest in is more measures for putting non-whites into the bonanza of the US prison industry. The message these cameras send is quite clear: We do not trust you.
    What kind of value does that instill in a person? Why is education funding continuously cut in the school districts with the poorest students? Because it is easier and more profitable to put up a camera than to put effort into changing who the system works for?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Good Question
Best Of Minnesota

Watch & Listen LIVE