The Hoffman Estates Park District is expanding the use of surveillance cameras at its facilities this spring, in an effort to keep patrons safe and business operations secure, officials said.
Park district commissioners Tuesday approved a $21,190 contract with Downers Grove-based Current Technologies to increase the number of cameras at four of its sites.
The contract buys 11 additional cameras at the Triphahn Center & Ice Arena, three additional cameras at the Prairie Stone Sports & Wellness Center, one new camera at the Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club and one new camera at the Vogelei Barn.
Executive Director Dean Bostrom said the park district began installing cameras at its facilities back in 2012, after some initial use at the Triphahn Center upon its 2004 opening. This new phase is triggered more by the cost and adaptability of new technology rather than by any specific incident or a need for better security, he said.
Among the incidents that have been recorded by the cameras was a group of teenagers looking through the belongings of younger kids and stealing cupcakes from a preschool room, and an adult walking out of a facility with a big flower display owned by the district.
The park district has and will continue to highlight the presence of the cameras in the hope they will serve largely as a preventive measure, Bostrom said.
"Those incidents don't occur on a regular basis," he said. "If someone up to no good knows there's cameras here, they might take their mischief elsewhere."
For the most, the park district's need for security is no different from that of any other business, Bostrom said. Among the areas under surveillance are every cash register in the district as well as the bar at Bridges of Poplar Creek, where alcohol is served and video gambling may soon take place.
But the district also wants patrons to feel safe throughout its facilities, including the 125,000-square-foot Triphahn Center. While there is no video surveillance inside locker rooms, cameras record who goes in and out.
Each facility with cameras will have its own bank of monitor screens from which front desk attendants can keep an eye on things. The district's main headquarters also can access footage from every location.
The new cameras are expected to be fully operational by late May.