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Fort Simpson looks to cameras as vandalism increases

Security cameras
A stock image shows a pair of security cameras in a municipal setting.

Fort Simpson councillors agree installing security cameras at village facilities is an appropriate response to an uptick in vandalism.

“I got a lot of complaints this week,” acting senior administrator Mitch Gast told councillors at a meeting last week.

Gast described reports of “teenagers running wild between 1am and 4am, causing a lot of vandalism and damage to both private and public property.” Giving an example, he said two windows had been smashed at the village library.

Complaints are “coming in literally by the hour,” he said, adding: “I think we’re going to have to camera all our facilities.”

Gast said he asked RCMP to increase their presence between 1am and 4am to help curb vandalism. He said some residents had requested more street lights in certain areas of the village.



At the meeting, councillors agreed – without taking a formal vote – to approve funding to install cameras in public facilities and spaces where there has been an increase in vandalism.

“Let’s not waste money on crappy cameras. Let’s get cameras that have great photos,” said councillor Stephanie Hardisty. “That way, they’ll stand up if they ever need to be used as investigative material.”

Still, one councillor’s concerns persisted as the meeting closed.

“The issues with the break-ins and stuff, there’s been a lot of it. Vehicles being damaged … it’s a major concern,” said councillor Troy Bellefontaine.



“I’m not sure what we’re going to do besides install cameras. Even then, you know who it is, but it doesn’t really help much if your vehicle’s smashed – or your house.”

The meeting also touched on a long-debated youth curfew bylaw, established in 2004 to prohibit children under 16 from being alone on the streets between 11pm and 6am.

Regardless of whether the bylaw exists in some iteration, Bellefontaine says it can’t be enforced.

“Why are we not able to do curfews?” Hardisty asked.

“It’s against human rights,” Bellefontaine replied.