Criminal activity can happen anywhere, even in nature. In an effort to protect outdoors enthusiasts, the city of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station have installed the first surveillance cameras at an open space trailhead.
Officials announced Wednesday that three surveillance cameras were installed at the Towsley Canyon parking area, near Newhall. On a tall post overlooking the hiking trails and vast mountainous regions, a white and blue sign reads, “Notice: This area is under 24-hour video surveillance.”
“The cameras and accompanying signs will notify would-be thieves that they are being watched and recorded,” said Carrie Lujan, communications manager with the city. “This gives our sheriff’s deputies the ability to track down the suspects and their vehicles.”
This comes after a couple dozen car break-ins took place in the parking lot over the past year, she added.
“Hikers who enjoy the beautiful open space would leave their purse or wallet in the car and be gone for an hour or more on their hike,” said Lujan. With belongings in sight, criminals could easily take advantage by smashing car windows and grabbing valuables.
A total of 523 reports of burglaries with a window smashed or a door pried open were reported in 2017 across the Santa Clarita Valley, according to data from the SCV Sheriff’s Station and the city’s Stolen Collection, a program working to reduce property theft.
While the new cameras aim to trace criminal activity, the SCV Sheriff’s Station reminds the public to stay alert.
“Although this added security feature has been added, please continue to remain vigilant in placing any valuables out of view and locking car doors,” the agency said Wednesday in a Facebook post. “Small backpacks and/or waist bags work great for carrying wallets and cell phones when hiking.”
Lujan said both the city and law enforcement officials will be evaluating adding cameras at other locations.