Town Thinks Hi-Tech to Beat Vandals

Town Goes Hi-Tech to Beat Vandals
By: Carly O'Keefe
ELDORADO, Ill. - The small town of Eldorado prides itself on its nice parks and 2.5 mile bike path, but in recent months, it seems vandals have taken pride in destroying it.
"They took an axe to the floor and handrails of the gazebo," said City Commissioner Jeff Minor.
"They've torn up the pavilion.  They've tore up the picnic tables, park benches.  They've driven through the basketball courts--doing doughnuts on the basketball courts.  They pretty much done all they could think of," said Eldorado Police Chief Shannon Deuel.
City leaders say they've tried everything they can imagine to put a stop to the vandalism.  The city has offered cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and even installed fake surveillance cameras to make vandals feel they were being watched.
"They worked a little while, 'til they figured out no one was coming down here to question them about anything, then it went back to normal," said Deuel.
Now Minor thinks Eldorado should install the real McCoy: six surveillance cameras with a digital video recorder and someone to watch the monitors 24-hours a day.
"Hopefully it will deter some of the kids from vandalism and mischief that's been going on," said Minor.
If just having cameras isn't enough to put a stop to it, at least the vandals' handiwork will be caught on tape.
"If they're tearing stuff up and we get them on film, it'll help us prosecute them.  Once one or two are prosecuted, I think that will take care of most of our problems down here," said Deuel.
The cost of the equipment could be $10,000 to $15,000, but city leaders say it would be worth it to curtail the damage.