Good call on cameras

Adding a surveillance system on the bike path adjacent to Chico State will buoy safety

The city bike path running between Chico State and student housing along Nord Avenue is a dangerous place. It has been for years. Despite upgraded lighting in the area, it remains a magnet for predators looking to take advantage of those who use it. Especially vulnerable are the college students who live adjacent to the path and use it frequently, as it’s the most direct path to campus and downtown.

During the Chico City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday evening, a university employee, former City Councilman Dan Herbert, told a story about a young man named Kyle, a sophomore at Chico State who was brutally attacked last year by assailants wielding baseball bats. He suffered a concussion and head lacerations that required staples, and his bike was stolen (see Howard Hardee’s report on page 9).

Given the nature of the attack, Kyle is lucky to be alive. And that young man is just one of a great number of people who’ve encountered a criminal element along that bike path. According to city records, the Chico Police Department has been called to the area nearly 200 times over the past three years.

After listening to a report from a lieutenant from the Chico PD on an option to install cameras along the path, the council voted unanimously in favor of the plan. That was a wise decision. We believe the devices, which are “self-contained” units that attach to existing light posts, will act as a deterrent.

The cameras will be purchased through private donations and their upkeep will cost the city only $900 annually, according to the police officer’s report. That’s a good use of taxpayer money. Another bonus is that this public-private effort sets a precedent for the safety along the city’s bikeways. We’d love to see other property owners work with the police department and the city to pay for cameras on other dangerous areas of this infrastructure.