Kenney and Clarke shaking hands during Kenney's initial budget address in 2023. Photo: Jared Piper/PHL Council
Kenney and Clarke shaking hands during Kenney's initial budget address in 2023. Photo: Jared Piper/PHL Council

Mayor Jim Kenney and Council President Darrell Clarke announced installation of 100 security cameras at rec centers across Philly

The cameras will create “Safe Play Zones” around 14 Philadelphia rec centers to help cut down rising violence ahead of the Summertime.


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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Council President Darrell L. Clarke announced on Wednesday, April 12, the installation of over 100 security cameras outside 14 local recreation centers across the city in order to create what they called “Safe Play Zones” for children and families. 

Kenney and Clarke made the announcement at Marie Denby Recreation Center, at 10th and Oxford Streets in North Philly, and alongside other city officials — emphasized that the cameras would help make rec centers safer spaces, especially ahead of the Summer break when youth violence tends to rise. 

According to Parks and Recreation Department Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philly has seen roughly 300 incidents of gun violence at or near city parks and recreation facilities since 2021. 

This follows the death of a Parks and Rec employee Tiffany Fletcher, who was fatally shot when caught in a crossfire outside Mill Creek recreation center in West Philly in 2022.

“These cameras are essential as Philadelphia police create a safety net around our rec centers and playgrounds,” Clarke said. “Our kids need safe spaces to play, and this initiative is one more step to help achieve that for them.”

The idea is a culmination of over three years of work that was first introduced in City Council in 2021 on Clarke’s behalf. 

However, the on-going COVID-19 pandemic halted further proceedings but Council allocated nearly $5 million to install and operate the cameras in the Five-Year Financial Plan that was adopted in the fiscal year 2023 budget.

The camera sites were chosen by city police in collaboration with the Managing Director’s Office and Office of Information and Technology, with the decisions based on crime data. 

“Recreation centers, parks, and playgrounds are a vital part of city life,” Mayor Kenney said. 

“In this year’s proposed budget, we plan to expand access to rec centers through more weekend hours and continue our investments in recreational facilities through Rebuild. The Safe Play

Zone cameras are an ideal complement to these efforts, offering an added layer of security to public spaces just in time for spring and Summer — and reflecting our commitments to public safety and thriving neighborhoods,” he added. 

Lovell also pointed to the impact of the activities available at local parks and playgrounds over the Summer. 

“When teens and young adults are engaged in programs at Parks and Rec sites, or working alongside caring adult role models, we get closer to combating the senseless violence that is impacting communities across the city,” she said. 

“The additional security offered at Safe Play Zones is one more way our city is stepping up to keep our play places safe for kids and families,” Lovell added. 

Kenney's final budget proposal features more funding so that libraries and rec centers are open to the public on weekends. City Council will hold its first hearings on the proposal on April 19. 

With Summer quickly approaching, plans earlier this month were also introduced that include programming with more than 100 Summer camps, swimming lessons, spraygrounds, reading activities at the Free Library, city block activities, youth development, athletics and paid job opportunities for teenagers. 

With families likely looking to take advantage of this, police are expected to increase their patrols, specifically around high-violence areas. 

Here is a list of the recreation centers that will be combined into a central intelligence network constantly monitored by police personnel at the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center (DVIC)  in South Philly. 

Hunting Park Recreation Center – 12 surveillance cameras

Hancock Rec Center – 8 surveillance cameras

Lonnie Young Rec Center – 10 surveillance cameras

Tanner G. Duckery Playground – 11 surveillance cameras

Marie Denby Rec Center – 11 surveillance cameras

Francis Myers Rec Center – 10 surveillance cameras

Cecil B Moore Rec Center – 3 surveillance cameras

Russo Park Playground – 11 surveillance cameras

Happy Hollow Rec Center – 9 surveillance cameras

Wissinoming Park – 12 surveillance cameras

Martin Luther King Rec Center – 10 surveillance cameras 

McVeigh Rec Center – 10 surveillance cameras

Feltonville Rec Center – 8 surveillance cameras

Rivera Rec Center – 3 surveillance cameras installed on 2/23 (Total of 7 cameras on the way)


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