Chico Council considering cameras, lighting on crime-ridden bike path

Feb 16, 2016 12:50 PM by David McVicker

Residents in Chico could soon feel safer using the bike paths by campus.

The city council will be voting on installing security cameras on the bike path that runs along the railroad tracks.

Austin Matthews, a Chico State student, said the path has a less-than-charming name and reputation.

"It's called the rape path," he said. "Yeah, they call it the rape path".

Chico's City Council and the police department are collaborating to bring security cameras to the bike path in the area from Big Chico Creek to West Sacramento Ave.

Factors like the railroad tracks, the students, the low income area, the liquor businesses and the creek have all affected this area, making it a hub for crime.

Randall Stone, Chico Council member, said cameras on the path would more than likely lead to less danger on the path itself.

"All of that confluence coming together can create intense criminal problems, and that particular bike path is subject to that type of things,” he said. “So it isn't the path per se that causes this issues is the confluence of all of those things".

According to the police department since early 2013, they have received 196 calls for service from that area. Lighting is another big issue that worries students.

Student Johnta Christmas said sometimes he and other students ger nervous walking on the path in the dark.

"Especially during late hours, like from five till later it gets really hard over here so you know just to bring more safety, and just give people more visibility of who’s around them,” he said.

However, despite the warnings, the installation of lights is not in the plans as of now, according to Stone.

"It costs $10,000 - $20,000 per light pole so you’re looking at a tremendous expense, so that would be moving down the road,” he said.

The cameras on the other hand are much cheaper, since it would be around $900 per year for operation.

If the security cameras plan is approved, the police department will start a fundraiser through the North Valley Community Foundation

The Chico City Council vote could come at tomorrow night's city council meeting at 7:00 p.m.


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