A car was broken into over the weekend while parked in the lot at the Buttonwood Park Zoo. It's not the first time nor is it the last time it will happen. And while I feel bad for the woman who lost her Michael Kors bag, with all due respect, you should know better than to leave valuable stuff in your car. Take it with you, lock it in the trunk or just leave it at home.

There are no security cameras in the zoo lot, and to the best of my knowledge none within the zoo itself. Other than a night watchman, security at the zoo is extremely lax. On most days, an elderly woman is all that stands between the outside world and the cash registers and the visitors inside. That is not wise for a popular tourist attraction in this day and age of armed robberies and random shootings.

The incident has already sparked a public debate that is likely to reach a fever pitch before much longer, as the victim was attending a birthday party for the child of New Bedford City Councillor-at-Large Ian Abreu.

Abreu tells me the break opened his eyes to the general lack of security at the park, and says he and Ward Five Councillor Scott Lima plan to ask the Council to find money to pay for security cameras. It could be next year, however, before any money is found.

Security should be a paramount concern at all city parks, but especially at the Buttonwood Park Zoo and the adjacent lot. Thousands of people visit the zoo and park in that lot each year.

The City of New Bedford and the Zoological Society must address security issues in and around the zoo. Visitors to New Bedford have to know that they, and their vehicles, will be safe while they are at the zoo, or they will not come. Gambling with security in this day and age is a foolish thing to do.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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