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Granby installs camera in park to curb nightime vandalism

GRANBY — If you’re heading to Dufresne Park while it’s closed at night, thinking about mischief, think again.

Unless you want to make an appearance on television. Live.

The Select Board has approved installing a live cable television feed at the park, to catch vandals in the act.

Police Chief Alan Wishart told the board this month that Dufresne Park, which is closed at night unless it is hosting a town-sanctioned event, experiences several incidents of vandalism each year that cause damage to its pavilion and other park property.

The park is open to the public seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to an hour after sunset.

The cable feed will cost Granby about $1,000 a year and the cost of monitoring equipment installed at the Public Safety Complex at 259 East State St., he said.

“I would say it’s good security,” said board member Mary A. McDowell.

Wishart said “it would be great” to have rapid police response to acts of vandalism at the park. What happens now, he said, is that by the time police receive a report and drive to the area, the people responsible for any damage are usually long gone.

The pavilion has security cameras, but they don’t offer a live feed from the park, the police chief said. Those cameras can record illegal activity, but it takes time to download the video and, unless those cameras capture significant information — such as a vehicle license plate number or the face of someone already known to police — the information is of limited value, he said.

Dufresne Park, located at Route 202 and Kendall Street, is the town’s recreation and conservation area, with fields for playing baseball and soccer, a playground, horse corrals and judging stands, a gated dog park, picnic tables and grills, and fishing at the park’s pond. It also has a large pavilion with a kitchen and rest rooms, a gazebo and six smaller pavilions near the pond.

Granby has rules for using the park and has established a series of fines for infractions, including up to $100 for trespassing and vandalism, and up to $500 for illegal dumping. Liquor is prohibited, unless licensed for an event by the Select Board.

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