Camera[By Kerry Smith] “CCTV cameras may document crime but do not prevent it. The Moreland municipality has the second-highest rate of family violence in Victoria. Most violent crime in Moreland is family violence. This means that there is an epidemic of family violence in Moreland,” said the Socialist Alliance’s Moreland councillor Sue Bolton.
At its March 13 council meeting, Moreland council passed a community safety motion to start an immediate expansion of CCTV cameras.
The Moreland council was offered funding by the state government that could be spent only on CCTV cameras.
Greens councillor Samantha Ratnam tried to amend the motion so that community consultation would be held before CCTV was installed. The amendment was lost on the casting vote of the mayor.
Bolton was the only councillor to vote against the substantive motion for a roll-out of CCTV cameras.
Moreland council has delayed discussion on other safety measures such as improved street lighting, programs to address family violence, education campaigns about gendered violence and better late-night transport.
Bolton tried to propose alternatives for safer streets, such as a community bus funded by council with contributions from late night venues. Such buses are funded by clubs andcasinos in NSW and Queensland because of drink driving laws.
Two ways to ensure safer streets at night are better street and bike path lighting and accessible public transport. Tackling rape culture through education is also important.
Bolton said CCTV cameras may document crime but they would not prevent crime.
Research by the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Sydney Institute of Criminology says if there is a link between crime prevention and CCTV cameras, it is likely that it only displaces crime to other areas, rather than prevents it.
At a Brunswick community meeting of about 100 residents in November, the only person to advocate CCTV cameras was Moreland Mayor Oscar Yildiz. Even the police spokesperson at the meeting said more CCTV cameras were not the answer because the main cause of violent crime was family violence.
Bolton said: “Immediately after the tragic murder of … Jill Meagher, the state government tried to take advantage of the tragedy by turning the tragedy into a law and order issue.
“This is hypocritical when services dealing with sexual assault and domestic violence are underfunded by both state and federal governments.
“A special curriculum has been developed for schools, which deals with the culture [that] produces anti-woman violence. The state government refuses to fund this curriculum to be provided in schools.
“If the council and the state government seriously believe that CCTV cameras reduce crime, they would be proposing to put CCTV cameras in individual houses given that family violence is the most prevalent violence.
“But they’re not proposing that so their only reason for promoting CCTV cameras is as a Big Brother measure to snoop on the public. It is likely that CCTV cameras will be used to harass people over petty issues, just like the Protective Services Officers have increased the harassment of homeless and mentally ill people over petty issues at train stations.
“CCTV cameras will not make our streets safer.”
[Green Left Weekly, March 16, 2013.]

Comment by Pete Dowe

Fear of Crime. 
This is a curly issue to raise, and although I write about high-fear, I must stress from the outset that VICTIMS DO NOT MAKE PERPETRATORS PERPETRATE, VICTIMS DO NOT ASK FOR IT, and WOMEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO WALK ANYWHERE ANYTIME. I seek here to put perspective on Fear of Crime. The Australian Institute of Criminology defines women as a high-fear of crime group. 

“A point of some importance is that “high-fear” groups are not especially characterised by age. Rather differences, hold within age groups. Thus, for instance, while it is well established that women are more fearful of crime than men (or at least admit to it more), younger women are more fearful than younger men, as well as older women being more fearful than older men.”

“Apart from the gender difference, other main findings are:

“people who live in high-crime areas are more likely than those who live in areas with lower levels of crime to be fearful”

“local disorder (such as noisy neighbours, poor street-lighting, and teenagers hanging around) is predictive of virtually all measures of fear”

“personal experience of being victimised, and greater contact with other victims, heightens fear”

The Australian Institute of Criminology also says that fear for “safety on the streets after dark” is a general, non-specific fear.  "The “safety on the streets after dark” question is a very common one in crime surveys, and indeed is sometimes the only one asked. The much higher levels of anxiety among older people in response to this question may well explain why the notion of excessive fear among older people has taken such hold."

"The reason why older people are more fearful about their safety on the streets alone at night is not entirely clear. Note that the question does not mention crime, and it could be that the prospect of being out alone on dark public streets may evoke anxiety about a greater range of mishaps (for example, falling over), especially as the emotional, physical and financial consequences could be worse for older people" (James & Graycar 2000).

"The question is also hypothetical for those who rarely go out alone after dark, which will be the case for many older people. It might also be that “street-crime” affecting older people is particularly overdramatised in the media—and many older people may form their perception of crime through this."

“Jill's (Meagher's) death tapped into all women's collective fears of the stranger and the dark alley,” 

says RMIT's Dr Anastasia Powell, a PHD in criminology and expert in hate-crimes against women.
But despite being a primal fear, it hardly ever happens. 

According to Dr Powell's research for VicHealth the most common form of death for Victorian women AGED 15-44 is "intimate partner violence".

Not cars, not smoking, but being killed by a man they know.

Therefore organisations which promote women walking at night are promoting a high-fear-of-crime group to put itself in a high-fear-of-crime situation. Fine, they have every right to do so. But in this hyper-vigilant, high-fear era, we need to be clear on where the fear is coming from. And re vigilantism, we cannot scapegoat others for our pre-existing fear.

Pete Dowe