Commuter lots getting cameras to deter break-ins, vandalism
For a commuter hopping off a Yuba-Sutter Transit bus at the end of a ride to and from a Sacramento job, finding a broken window and a ransacked vehicle in a park-and-ride lot is a frustrating way to end the day.
Though they will not always stop such break-ins from happening, new cameras in as many as three park-and-ride lots in Yuba and Sutter counties might prevent such frustration in the future.
Transit manager Keith Martin said, with a $140,000 state grant in hand, the agency will shortly put out a request for proposals for companies to put up video cameras as soon as next spring.
Martin said there is not enough money for the cameras to be monitored continuously once they are up, and it is not clear yet if the grant will be enough for all three lots: Powerline Road and McGowan Parkway and Highway 70 and Feather River Boulevard, both in Yuba County; and Bogue Road and Highway 99 in Yuba City.
But the hope is cameras will both provide footage for law enforcement investigations if necessary and at least serve as a deterrent.
"Parking lots everywhere certainly have challenges in terms of security," Martin said, adding the park-and-ride lots are also popular with vanpool riders and carpoolers. "We want to provide as much assurance as we can for those using the lots."
Since Sept. 1 of last year, Martin said, his agency has taken reports of 17 vandalism incidents, including break-ins, at the three lots, which are owned by either Yuba County or Caltrans.
The lot on Highway 70, near Plumas Lake, had the most, with 11. But because not all break-ins are reported to Yuba-Sutter Transit or law enforcement, Martin said, the numbers are probably higher.
Damon Gil, a spokesman for the Yuba County Sheriff's Department, said cameras will help with what are often diff cult investigations.
Gil said vehicle burglaries tend to occur overnight and in isolated locations, such as large parking lots or remote areas like the park-and-ride lots.
"Obviously, if we have an eyewitness, that helps the investigators, but vehicle burglaries tend to happen where there are not a lot of people around," Gil said.
Martin said there will be several signs posted with the cameras warning of the omnipresent surveillance.
To commuters using the lot near Plumas Lake, the cameras will be welcome, even if they have been victims of vandalism before.
Kathy Stanley of Plumas Lake, heading home after the afternoon bus dropped her off on Friday, said she had a rear window on her car broken about a year ago, but nothing stolen.
"I think it would deter break-ins," she said. "I think it's just kids, usually."
Another commuter, Sherri Bower of Rio Oso, said she appreciated the effort by Yuba-Sutter Transit, even if break-ins are still possible.
"It's obviously too expensive to put a security guard here all day," she said. "At least they're trying."
Appeal-Democrat reporter Rob Parsons contributed to this report.
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