Car break-ins raise safety concerns at Idle Hour Park

Car break-ins raise safety concerns at Idle Hour Park

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Neighborhood watch groups in Columbus and Phenix City are buzzing about car break-ins here at Idle Hour Park this week and calling for more security around the area.

While Phenix City police agree, they say ensuring safety and security is a collaborative effort.

"I'm not always worried, but I do have that thought in my head that maybe it could happen," Brittany Pfannschmidt says.

Pfannschmidt and her friend walk their children at Idle Hour Park several times a week. The pair says they fear break-ins like these -- shown on The Neighborhood Watchers Facebook page-- could happen to them.

"It's not the park itself," Pfannschmidt explains. "It's just maybe the area where people feel like maybe it's a good idea to hide and break into your car or hide in the woods and maybe attack you or mug you."

Pfannschmidt suggests more lights and security cameras as solutions.

"So, in the event that if there was someone to break into your car, they would be on camera," she adds. "They would be deter from doing that."

Members of the Facebook group even commented about taking their petition for more security and cameras to Mayor Eddie Lowe's office.

Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith said in a phone interview Thursday that measures are already in place to keep residents safe. Smith tells me the Parks and Recreation Department has security guards manning the park in two shifts. He adds that Parks and Rec does their best to keep all the lights burning that are already in place.

Council members and Chief Smith say security cameras are something they have discussed, but the devices come with a hefty price tag. Still, residents seem to think the cameras will help more than they will hurt.

"It would probably bring more people to the area who have these concerns," Pfannschmidt says.

Chief Smith says buildings and businesses that surround idle hour park have security cameras. If need be, the police department has the ability to pull footage from those cameras as well as red light cameras.

Chief Smith adds one thing you can do to is not leave valuables out in plain view in any public place.