Parking garages in Stamford, Conn., to get cameras

Dec. 25--STAMFORD -- Security cameras planned after a woman was attacked in the Bedford Street garage three years ago could be installed in municipal parking garages next year.

The city plans to spend about $350,000 a year to improve security in its three downtown parking garages. An attempted rape and kidnapping in 2004 and the rape of a city woman at gunpoint in the Marriott Hotel and Spa garage last year heightened safety concerns.

"If it makes people feel safe, it will be worth it," said Ernest Orgera, who oversees city garages.

The first step will be to install cameras on building interiors and exteriors, Orgera said.

The city has received seven proposals for the installation of a closed-circuit television camera system for the garages on Bell, Bedford and Summer streets. The costs range from $210,610 to $555,185.

A selection committee will review the proposals, weighing each firm's experience, the number of cameras proposed, the design, technology and price, said Peter Privitera, city purchasing agent.

Plans also call for improving lighting in the garages on Bell and Bedford streets.

Panic alarms marked with blue lights that garage patrons can use to summon help through an intercom are being considered, Orgera said.

Emanuella Moise of Lawrenceville, Ga., who was attacked in the Bedford Street garage in 2004, sued the city last year, claiming the facility was unsafe.

Moise was approached from behind by a man who put tape over her hands and mouth and tried to kidnap and sexually assault her. She fought him off.

The civil suit, which is pending, alleges the city was negligent because there were no security cameras and not enough guards on patrol. Propark Inc. of Hartford, the contractor that employs the garage attendants, and her attacker, Robert Moore of 32 Hanrahan St., Stamford, also were named as defendants.

Moore, who was charged with robbery, kidnapping and attempted sexual assault, is serving 12 years in prison at Cheshire Correctional Institution and is not eligible for release until 2017.

At least one Propark attendant is on duty in city garages at all times, Orgera said. Downtown ambassadors and police patrol the structures regularly, he said.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Stamford Advocate, Conn. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.