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Security camera call for city

Wednesday, 19th October, 2011

By Erica Visser

 Police have asked City Council to install closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) in crime hotspots.

Detective Inspector Mick Stoltenberg said that investing in CCTV would be of benefit to the community.

“It has been shown that CCTV footage is a great investigative tool and support to not only police but also communities,” Det. Insp. Stoltenberg said.

“Crime prevention is a major focus of the NSW Police Force.

“Having a tool such as this would benefit Broken Hill in that it would ensure that there is a safer and friendlier environment within the town.”

DI Stoltenberg said that rather than catching criminals in the act, the main aim was the prevention of criminal activity.

“Simply arresting and charging people for doing the wrong thing is not the only answer,” he said.

“This is a community and social issue - prevention is better than a cure.

“If people were aware that there was a possibility that they may be detected on CCTV when committing an offence, they might reconsider doing the wrong thing.”

Council’s General Manager, Frank Zaknich, said that Council would assess the cost-effectiveness of the initiative.

“We’ve only just received the proposal,” Mr Zaknich said.

“We need to do the assessment of what it would cost and value for money.”

This would include asking other towns about the effectiveness of CCTV, he said.

Mayor Wincen Cuy told the ABC yesterday that a CCTV system could cost upwards of $250,000.

Det. Insp. Stoltenberg said that alongside installation costs, a person may be employed to monitor the cameras on either a full-time or part-time basis. 

According to a recent Australian Government survey, nine per cent of local government councils had employed CCTV systems. 

 

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In around half of these cases the cameras were used on council sites and in city centres.

DI Stoltenberg said the CCTV system would mainly be in “the CBD and licensed premises”. 

The effectiveness of CCTV surveillance has been debated, with some studies finding that simpler methods such as better street lighting can be just as useful in combating crime.

Mayor Cuy said that increasing the amount of lighting at places such as Sturt Park would help to curb vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

He said Council should do “anything that comes within the budget” to help counteract the recent crime. 

“We need to give people reasons to be vigilant, like catching them in the act,” Mayor Cuy said.

“We need to understand where the hotspots are for crime within the community.” 

Mayor Cuy said that he was unsure as to why Broken Hill had suffered a recent spike in crime.

“It’s something we’ll have to investigate with the police. We could just be having a temporary increase and maybe it’ll settle down,” he said.

Mr Zaknich said that the recent criminal activity seemed to be “sporadic”.

DI Stoltenberg said that the increase in crime was a “double-edged sword” as the police force recently ran a major promotion encouraging people to report all crime, regardless of its severity.

“This will of course increase the figures when reporting is in greater numbers,” he said.

DI Stoltenberg also said that there had been a general rise in anti-social behaviour in the city.

“There are concerns that society in general has dropped the ball in relation to the standards of behaviour, which of course leads to more crime being committed,” 

“In the majority of communities nowadays, anti-social and alcohol-fuelled behaviour is a concern.,

“This is one of the major focuses of police within the Barrier Local Area Command.” 

 

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