Exclusive: New cameras installed at Piedmont Park nine months after murder
The Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation tells CBS46 Investigates more than 30 cameras are now active in Piedmont Park.
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Surveillance cameras are now up in Piedmont Park and other parks across the city.
In the wake of the unsolved murder of Katie Janness and her dog, Bowie, at Piedmont Park last summer – the Atlanta City Council approved legislation to enhance safety measures – including installing surveillance cameras in 20 city-owned parks.
According to a timeline obtained by CBS46 Investigates, that installation was slated to begin in January 2022. At the end of January, Atlanta City Councilman Michael Bond told us installation hadn’t happened and city council hadn’t received an updated timeline.
Four months later, investigative reporter Rachel Polansky noticed three new visible surveillance cameras in Piedmont Park. The Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation tells us more than 30 cameras are now active in the park.
Councilman Bond – who voiced his frustrations over the city’s slow roll-out – tells us Piedmont is the first city park to have new cameras installed, adding that the cameras are plugged into the city’s video integration center – which means they’re already being monitored by Atlanta Police.
“I’m relieved that it’s actually starting to happen,” Councilman Bond said.
“Citizens have been demanding it the entire time so we’re really pleased that it’s finally starting to happen, almost a year later,” Councilman Bond added.
Park-goers are taking notice.
“It’s a long time coming,” Joyce Cobb said. “They should’ve been here before that but yes, I’m really glad they’re here. It makes everybody feel safer, I would think. The police can’t be everywhere.”
“They needed to have it a long time ago because maybe this murder could’ve been solved a long time ago, if they did. But we’ll never know,” park-goer, Tiffany Marchant said.
CBS46 Investigates reached out to Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation multiple times – asking for an interview as well as a timeline for camera installation at the other city parks. A spokesperson sent us the below response.
Atlanta Police confirm that the camera feeds are visible, but says any further questions should go to Parks and Rec.
CBS46 Investigates also filed a public records request asking for quotes, bids or any other documents associated with the cameras. Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation denied our request.
During a September public safety committee meeting, Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation and Atlanta Police presented findings that highlighted crime statistics in city parks from 2018 through September 2021. As you can see in the image below, Robert W. Woodruff Park had the most violent crimes with 23, followed by Rosa L. Burney with 16. South Bend, Grant and Piedmont Parks all had 11 violent crimes.
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