The Independent Gazette has learned of several vehicle break-ins which occurred this past Father’s Day at the city’s Park & Lock Central Parking facility at 52 South Main behind the Movies 14 theater. These acts went unreported by the city. They were reported, however, among other recent crimes within the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch Coalition’s facebook group, where crime notifications are often made in real time.
According to the victims, one of the break-ins occurred directly beneath a Hawkeye camera. New city spokesperson Liza Prokop acknowledged that two press releases concerning the crimes were missing from the lobby postings at the police station, but did say that “The videotapes are being reviewed, but there is no conclusive evidence to identify the responsible parties. More information will be released as the investigation continues.”
At a recent Parking Authority meeting Matthew Price, project manager for LAZ Parking, the company responsible for managing many of the city’s parking assets, said he’s asked in the past to review Hawkeye surveillance tapes, but has never been allowed to. So even though the Parking Authority is the sole existing source of revenue for Hawkeye Security Solutions, members of its own board are not permitted to view captured surveillance footage.
Board member Mary Ann King responded to Price’s revelation by asking, “Then what are we paying for?” Fellow board member Jim Casey said he “feels better” knowing the cameras are present in the parking facilities, and would not press Hawkeye for access to their garage surveillance footage. The board’s majority position—based on its members’ comments—appeared to be that it possesses neither the responsibility nor the expertise to analyze such surveillance video, but is merely obligated by contract to make regular payments to Hawkeye.