If you’re a criminal thinking about robbing someone in Oak Ridge Town Park, you may want to think twice about it if a newly proposed bill is passed by the NC General Assembly.
State Rep. John Faircloth has just introduced House Bill 547– a bill that, if successful, would provide the Town of Oak Ridge with $100,000.00 to purchase and install a video security system in the park.
State Rep. Jon Hardister is also a primary sponsor of the bill, which has support from state Reps. Pricey Harrison and Cecil Brockman as well.
Oak Ridge Town Councilmember George McClellan said he’s very grateful to the legislators backing the bill. He said the proposed surveillance system would have high-resolution cameras in strategic locations and would send a multi-camera video feed to the Oak Ridge Town Hall.
“We think this would be a big benefit,” McClellan said.
He said one promising note is that the bill has bipartisan support from the start.
He added that there isn’t a major crime problem in Town Park but there are “crimes of opportunity” – such as car break-ins – that he and other town leaders feel the camera system will help reduce. Having the system in place would discourage crime, town leaders believe; and, if a crime is committed, it would help them catch the person responsible.
Though there’s a lot of support for the move in Oak Ridge and among area legislators, there is a little griping from some who consider this too localized a use of state funds. In Summerfield, for instance, former Guilford County Board of Elections Member Don Wendelken, who runs the “Summerfield Scoop” Facebook page, questioned whether state money should go toward the camera system since the park is mostly used by those in Oak Ridge and not generally by others.
McClellan countered by saying that the park is heavily used and it is used by a much wider range of people than just Oak Ridge residents. The town has under 8,000 residents, but, according to town estimates, in 2018 the park was used by people over 89,000 times.