Sportsman's Park: Added security at Sportsman's Park has proven to make the park safer

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - One year after a fatal shooting at Sportsman's Park in Port St. Lucie, park officials say the park is now much safer.

Dozens of people choose Sportsman's as their spot to practice basketball.

Johnny Lamor uses the courts daily. "Everyone here is local and lives right down the street. Everybody comes here to play basketball," said Lamor.

He says the courts seem to be safer now than last year.

25-year-old Marcus Samuel was fatally shot at Sportsman's in March of 2012. The courts were then closed for months.

"I remember the gates were locked. Nobody was able to come for like three months. We had no where to play basketball," said Lamor.

When they reopened, officials added surveillance cameras near the court, implemented more police patrols, required court passes, and staffed court attendants.

St. Lucie County Park Officer Steven Camara says the added security has proven to be working. He says they've made arrests in 60% of the problems at the park.

"The major problems that we were addressing before, you're not going to see that anymore. If you do, it's going to be taken care of pretty quickly," Camara said.

Lamor notices a difference, too. "Before, there were more arguments and a lot of fights."

Camara says the added security measures were also a test pilot for other parks in the county. Because he says the additions were successful, park officials will be working with the commission to implement similar security measures in at least ten other St. Lucie County parks.

Security that allows the basketball players to focus more on their game, and less about becoming a target for violence.
 

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