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Video no help on Albany Veterans Park vandalism

Albany officials say it was too dark for police to identify anyone at the monuments

Albany city officials say the cameras near Veterans Park, such as this one in the background behind a video notice sign on the south side of the adjacent amphitheater, were unable to capture an image on vandals who defaced three downtown war monuments, apparently sometime early Saturday or late Friday, because of darkness. (staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

Albany city officials say the cameras near Veterans Park, such as this one in the background behind a video notice sign on the south side of the adjacent amphitheater, were unable to capture an image on vandals who defaced three downtown war monuments, apparently sometime early Saturday or late Friday, because of darkness. (staff photo: Jim Hendricks)

ALBANY — Albany police and city officials said Tuesday there were no arrests in the weekend vandalism of three stone monuments at Veterans Park downtown. Officials also said that electronic surveillance did not identify any suspects.

Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said that while at least one camera was trained on the park, the available light was not enough to do the job.

“It was just too dark,” Smith said. “The digital files have been examined at the Albany Police Department and there nothing usable there.”

Smith said the city’s 18 or so unobtrusive downtown cameras do a good job of deterring crime, but require a minimum lighting level, such as that provided in areas citizens are known to frequent.

“The parks are dark because they’re closed at night,” Smith said. “No one is supposed to be in there.”

Smith said that while specialized night vision camera systems are available for surveillance of unlighted areas, the purchase price is “astronomical.”.

For the time being, at least, security will rely on “non-electronic” vigilance, including traditional patrol methods including police bicycle patrols, Smith said.

The city continues to make predictions on where and when trouble might happen, Smith said, and CompStat meetings are held on a weekly basis. At those meetings, officials with various law enforcement agencies come together to discuss what they know.

“We know a lot about where these troubles are brewing,” Smith said, “but, obviously, we don’t want to broadcast what we know.”

Smith said discussions are still being held between city and law enforcement officials as what new measures might be taken to protect the monuments at Veterans Park. This was the second time the memorials in the park have been defaced.