A security gate installed at Harris Harbor is scheduled to be locked from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily starting in early May, with access to boaters provided by key fobs or other means. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

A security gate installed at Harris Harbor is scheduled to be locked from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily starting in early May, with access to boaters provided by key fobs or other means. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

Harris Harbor to be protected at night by electronic security gate starting in early May

Barrier is believed to be the first at a public dock in Alaska; boaters will access via key fobs

A security gate installed at Harris Harbor is scheduled to be locked nightly starting in early May due to ongoing complaints about criminal activity, although boat owners will have access via a key fob system, according to Juneau Harbormaster Matthew Creswell.

While there are public marinas in other states with such gates, Creswell said this is the first he’s aware of in Alaska. He said Harris Harbor is a test case for the gate since it’s the only local harbor with a single access point.

“We received lots of feedback from our customers like ‘Why don’t you have gates like every marina down south does?’” he said Saturday. “Eventually after enough input we said ‘Well, we could try it.’”

Officials are still waiting for access controls, security cameras and other equipment before activating the gate, Creswell said. The gate will be locked from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Key fobs will be provided to boat owners, while a numeric lock code is being considered for visiting boaters.

“The primary means of access will be the key fobs, which people are already using for restroom access and crane access, and we’re on a very consistent program that works well — Millennium,” he said. “The whole city uses it and I don’t know that I’ve had any downtime since I’ve been on Millennium over the last three years.”

Creswell said crime at the harbors is cyclical, but an ongoing concern since there is no after-hours staff presence at the docks and not everything is reported “so it’s hard to get a true metric” of how extensive the problem is.

“It’s mainly petty theft for the most part,” he said. “Every now and then there’s a large theft that happens. But most of the time it’s small items being stolen repeatedly.”

The security gate cost about $50,000, Creswell said.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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