[UPDATE BELOW] When a camera was installed in Inwood's Isham Park in July of 2012, residents assumed its automated eye would keep watch over park activity 24-hours a day. Instead, the camera records only four hours a day—between 1 and 5 a.m.—precisely when crime is not happening, some say.

Susan Ryan, whose husband Michael O'Reilly was brutally mugged in the park last year, was outraged to learn of the camera's lack of consistency. O'Reilly was attacked not in the dead of night, but at 7:30 p.m, she said. A motion-activated flash camera that had previously been mounted right above where the attack took place had, it turned out, been moved to another area of the park—dashing the couples hopes that the assailants would be caught.

So when a new surveillance camera was installed five weeks after O'Reilly's attack, the pair felt secure that did any violence occur, it would be caught on film.

Apparently, this was not the case. It turns out the camera—which cost nearly $30,000 in taxpayer funds—records a scant four hours each day, and not at the times when crime has been shown to occur.

“That is probably the least important time you need that camera (operating),” O'Reilly told the Daily News earlier this week. “It’s like buying a lamp for your home and only turning it on in the middle of the day when your house is flooded with daylight. You would have a better chance having a Fisher-Price camera up there."

News that the cameras weren't recording came to light in March, when a tipster reported drug activity in the park to the 34th Precinct. When police went to review the footage, they found that the cameras were not functioning.

"The precinct wanted to get access to the camera so they could review the forage," Ryan said. "But the precinct was told by the Parks Department that there was no usable footage in the camera—it turns out it was because it wasn't on."

Geoffrey Croft, founder of NYC Park Advocates, said the Parks Department has been opaque about why the cameras are on so infrequently. The agency told the News that the camera lacks the memory that constant recording would require, but Croft maintains that that claim is bogus.

"If that camera cannot record for 24 hours, they need to change the storage capacity," he said. "Right now it's doing no good. It's actually forming a false sense of security."

We've reached out to the Parks Dept. for comment, and will update the story if we hear back.

Update, 9:55 a.m.: Arthur Pincus, a spokesperson for the Parks Dept., told us that the agency does not announce specific hours of operation, as doing so would hinder its effectiveness as a deterrent. He adds, however, that Parks coordinated with the NYPD to record during hours when the space is most heavily trafficked.

There are currently two NYC Parks security cameras in Isham Park. One is located at Memorial Circle. It carries a 24-hour live feed that NYPD has access to. It can record various time periods throughout a 24-hour cycle, which we periodically change based on feedback from the NYPD. The second NYC Parks camera in Isham Park is a flash cam. It is located at Park Terrace East Circle. It takes photographs at night and serves as a deterrent for people to leave the park after its closure. In addition, there are private security cameras nearby that cover certain areas of the park (Isham Alley). These measures help reduce the likelihood that a visitor to the park will become the victim of a crime.