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Downtown Bend camera proposal re-emerges

By Brittany Weiner
Published On: Feb 19 2014 11:04:47 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 20 2014 02:58:49 PM CST

Vandals smash window at Deschutes County ROCKS Boxing Gym, while Bend police consider downtown Bend surveillance cameras that could help solve crimes.

BEND, Ore. -

A discussion has started about downtown Bend surveillance cameras that could help solve crimes, such as a window-smashing vandalism at a non-profit boxing club early Wednesday.

The cameras idea was proposed eight years ago, but it was axed weeks later, when then-police chief Andy Jordan said he was not convinced the project was a smart way to spend the police department's money.

This new proposal from Bend police and the Downtown Bend Business Association is in its very early stages, but it's already gaining support.

According to the DBBA, their main focus is to keep up Bend's quality of life.

"Late at night, there's a lot of vandalism. Sidelines Sports Bar and Grill Manager Shane Caito said Wednesday. "Downtown, there's a lot of alcohol-related issues -- fistfights, car break-ins, even hit-and-runs and stuff like that, that I think could benefit some cameras downtown."

To now, police have relied on private surveillance to help them solve downtown crimes, so having their own cameras may be able to help them solve more vandalism, theft and assault cases.

"Any camera system that moves forward for downtown is going to be done through a partnership of Bend PD," DBBA Executive Director Chuck Arnold said. "We're hoping to have the park district involved -- that's still a discussion that needs to happen."

"We hope to have funding from the city department that manages the parking garage and funding from the private businesses as well, so this would be something that is done as a team," Arnold said.

Since it's so early in the process, it's unclear how many cameras could be installed or where they would be placed.

Arnold said he deals with other downtowns across the country, and many have had success with systems like this.

He says privacy has been a common concern, and it's something they will discuss as they move forward.

Coincidentally, early Wednesday, the Deschutes County ROCKS Boxing Club at 20 NW Greenwood Ave. had a front window smashed out. It's a place where at-risk kids box to keep them off the street.

Police said had no suspects as of yet.

Coach Richard Miller said it's happen before: 'We've been tagged several times with graffiti on the front and side of the building. It is what it is -- it's that part of town, I guess. But for somebody to actually break a window out -- that's pretty bold."

The vandalism couldn't have come at a worse time,, as the club is hosting the state Golden Gloves boxing championships this weekend at Eagle Crest Resort in Redmond. Learn more about their program at http://deschutescountyrocks.com/.

NewsChannel 21's Samantha O'Connor will have more on the vandalism in a report Thursday evening on NewsChannel 21.

The idea of downtown Bend security cameras also is the topic of our latest KTVZ.COM Poll, on the right side of the home page.

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