Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pedestrian Safety Walking CCTV. Councils yet to take up State Government offer of $250,000 for CCTV cameras Herald Sun June 3rd 2013 Community Safety

Councils yet to take up State Government offer of $250,000 for CCTV cameras

Robert Doyle
Cr Robert Doyle. Picture: Chris Scott Source: Herald Sun
Jill Meagher
Police identified nine CBD hot spots after the death of Jill Meagher. Source: Supplied
AN offer of $250,000 from the State Government for new security cameras in the inner city is yet to be taken up by the Melbourne City Council.
Following last year's murder of Jill Meagher, police identified nine hot spots in the CBD, Southbank and Docklands that need CCTV cameras to bolster safety.
They include the area between Princes Bridge and Southbank Blvd, the north bank of the Yarra near Flinders St station and a Bourke St site in Docklands.
James Talia, a spokesman for Crime Prevention Minister Edward O'Donohue, confirmed discussions were continuing with the city council following an audit of CCTV blackspots ordered by former premier Ted Baillieu in September.
"These sites in the CBD and Docklands were identified in the course of that audit,'' Mr Talia said.
The Government has offered the council $250,000 to expand its camera network - the same amount offered to Moreland Council to set up CCTV  in the area where Ms Meagher was murdered.


But both councils are yet to take up the offers.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who campaigned strongly on CCTV expansion during last year's election campaign, has struggled to get wide support for the policy within council.
Cr Doyle said he was strongly in favour of CCTV.
"And I will argue for CCTV in council,'' Cr Doyle said.
He was forced to back away from a bid to install cameras in the street art precinct of Hosier and Rutledge lanes, despite a plea from police that they would help fight crime in the area.
Instead, the precinct will get more lighting and "vertical gardens'' to deal with antisocial behaviour.
The Greens, who have two city councillors, campaigned strongly against the effectiveness of cameras during the election.
Greens councillor Cr Cathy Oke said she wasn't aware of the new sites identified by police, but they would be considered on a case-by-case basis before council.
Cr Richard Foster said he would fight the issue in the chambers to ensure alternatives were properly explored before money was wasted on unproven cameras.
But Cr Doyle said Cr Foster was on the wrong side of the issue because the evidenced showed that CCTV was very effective in gathering evidence for on the spot arrests.
"It is well known I am a big supporter of CCTV as one of the tools to keep our streets safe,’’ Cr Doyle said.
Cr Richard Foster said he was amazed at the Lord Mayor’s backflip on trialling alternatives to CCTV in crime hot spots in the CBD given Cr Doyle supported the idea three months ago.
Cr Foster labelled the move "classic grandstanding on the part of the Lord Mayor’’.
“To act without considering the outcomes of the alternate trials is sidelining council and the portfolio holder,” he said.
Cr Foster said Cr Doyle’s support of CCTV "reeks of opportunism’’.
“There is no evidence that CCTV cameras can prevent crime and the Mayor has yet to prove that it does,” he said.
In April, Moreland Mayor Cr Oscar Yildiz said that cameras might not prevent crime but would help to catch offenders.
Cr Yildiz saidnte he supported more CCTV units and expected the council to approve them at a meeting this month.

Comment by Pete Dowe

First and foremost

Let there be LIGHT! 

Proactive measures such as Lighting and Police Presence ought to be the community safety priority however I do believe it is also important to catch offenders 

and therefore agree with Moreland Mayor Councillor Oscar Yildiz that CCTV "would help to catch offenders."

My support for CCTV however is qualified

and only as part of a "three pronged attack" (lights, police, cctv)

on the problem of community safety at night 

But first and foremost

Let there be LIGHT! 

Pete Dowe
Road Safety Advocate 

June 5th 2013

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