Security Cameras Sprout at Rotary Gardens After Summer Vandalism

By: Dana Brueck Email
By: Dana Brueck Email

Cameras have sprouted at Janesville's Rotary Gardens after vandals caused thousands of dollars in damage this past summer.

Volunteers kept watch after the incident, but an extensive system of 16 cameras at the Rotary Gardens is nearly complete.

Volunteers largely run the Rotary Gardens, and they turned out this summer to patrol the grounds overnight. Now, a nearly $40,000 system will give them some relief.

"The most important thing is it will be digitally capturing everything out of every single camera," Executive Director Ed Lyon says.

This holiday season brings the gift of some peace of mind to Lyon.

"The system can be set up so we can monitor from home because it can go across the Internet," he says.

The system is an extensive network of buried cables, all powering 16 cameras across just as many acres.

"It sees day/night, up to 150 feet," Brad Smith of 1st Choice Lock and Security says.

The gardens turned to Smith after vandals caused about $20, 000 in damage in June.

"Large statuary urns, concrete benches; it was almost like they were targeting things they knew would be expensive," Lyon says.

However, Lyon says protecting the picturesque setting is an every day issue. "People will actually come in, steal containers, hanging baskets," making the $40, 000 worth of motion-detecting cameras a worthwhile investment.

Lyon also says the value of these gardens goes beyond a dollar amount. "We have over 200 volunteers. They come in here and volunteer services. When they come in and see the damage, it's a very, very emotional thing," he says.

The gardens also increased lighting.

Community donations paid the bill for the cameras.

Two teens were sentenced in the case. Charges against another teen were dropped.

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