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Cameras make for safer city: police

Saturday, 13th July, 2013

Detective Inspector Mick Stoltenberg says Broken Hill’s not a dangerous place, but CCTV would make it safer.  PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt Detective Inspector Mick Stoltenberg says Broken Hill’s not a dangerous place, but CCTV would make it safer. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt

By By Erica Visser

A recent violent attack in which a young man was beaten unconscious could have been prevented if CCTV cameras had been installed in Broken Hill’s hot spots, according to police.

The incident occurred at the weekend when the 21-year-old was admitted to hospital after allegedly being “jumped” by a group of attackers and “king hit”.

It was the latest in a string of recent incidents involving violent or destructive behaviour, which often occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Barrier LAC crime manager Mick Stoltenberg told the BDT that he was frustrated that CCTV was not in place, but he could only be patient.

“To a degree, yes I am, but what’s that saying? Good things come to those who wait,” he said yesterday.

“Obviously if CCTV was in place it may well have prevented or, if not, captured the assault of the person responsible for it.”

Police have been vocal about the need for CCTV in high traffic areas such as Oxide, Argent and Patton streets for the past few years.

City Council has also supported the notion, but pulled CCTV installation from its budget in 2012/2013.

It has recently developed a crime prevention plan which was needed to apply for State Government funding to help the cause.

The only public area where Council has installed CCTV is AJ Keast Park in Gypsum Street, after it was granted security funding along with new play equipment.

Detective Inspector Stoltenberg said that he was glad that Council had shown an interest in CCTV.

“Council’s doing the right thing, I’m not being critical of Council at all. There’s obviously a process that it needs to go through.”

DI Stoltenberg said that “gutless” attacks on people had recently occurred more often.

“I have seen some recent reports of people getting king hit and attacked. They’re really disturbing and gutless, cowardly acts,” he said.

“If someone can’t go out and have a couple of beers with a mate and walk home without some filthy person attacking them, it’s not on.”

But DI Stoltenberg said that such offenders were relatively few.

“I still think Broken Hill’s an extremely safe town. We’re talking about a minority that takes part in these sorts of crimes.

“We can’t get too carried away here; it’s that minority which tarnishes our image.”

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