CCTV cam­eras go on

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

IT is hoped a net­work of mon­i­tored CCTV cam­eras will help vis­i­tors to a busy town cen­tre feel safer.

The Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board has teamed up with the Mt Al­bert Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion and the area’s com­mu­nity patrol to or­gan­ise CCTV cov­er­age for the area around the Mt Al­bert vil­lage.

It is ex­pected about 10 cam­eras will be­gin op­er­at­ing by the end of the month, and they will be con­stantly mon­i­tored by Mt Al­bert se­cu­rity firm Greene Se­cu­rity.

‘‘They’ll be fo­cus­ing on the blind spots and the ar­eas where peo­ple find it easy to get away with be­hav­iour that is not ac­cept­able,’’ lo­cal board mem­ber Pauline An­der­son says.

It’s been on the cards for two years, she says.

‘‘We were hav­ing quite a few is­sues.

‘‘The day­time is­sues seem to have set­tled down but the night­time is­sues seem to have es­ca­lated.

‘‘We’re get­ting van­dal­ism, graf­fiti, uri­na­tion, al­leged drug deal­ing, fights and ar­son.

‘‘An ag­gra­vated rob­bery re­cently at an in­ter­net cafe was re­ally the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused us to force the is­sue.

‘‘The whole idea with the CCTV is to make Mt Al­bert at night a much more pleas­ant and safer place to be be­cause at the mo­ment there seems to be the wrong peo­ple that are com­ing here.’’

She says some busi­nesses are open 24/7 and could be bring­ing in an anti-so­cial el­e­ment.

Mrs An­der­son says the record­ings will be made avail­able only to po­lice.

‘‘This is not big brother. It’s not just avail­able for any­one to go and have a look at just be­cause they want to have a gan­der at what’s go­ing on.’’

The board is chip­ping in $22,500 to­wards the ini­tial costs and an­other $2000 is ex­pected to be raised from busi­nesses. Mt Al­bert Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity Groups As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber Cather­ine Good­win sees the cam­eras as an im­por­tant step in the busi­ness area’s re­gen­er­a­tion.

She is the gen­eral man­ager of Good­win Realty which has been a vic­tim of crime. In Fe­bru­ary last year its premises on Mt Al­bert Rd was set alight.

‘‘The fire was known to have been caused by mem­bers of the va­grant groups that had be­gun fre­quent­ing Mt Al­bert af­ter dark,’’ she says.

‘‘A lack of phys­i­cal ev­i­dence or cred­i­ble wit­nesses how­ever meant no-one was ever charged.

‘‘The prob­lems we’ve had here are to the ex­clu­sion of those we want here. We want fam­i­lies to walk down here at night for a meal, but they were choos­ing not to come to the vil­lage be­cause they didn’t feel safe.

‘‘This is rather an ex­cit­ing point be­cause the re­ju­ve­na­tion process is ac­tu­ally in play. The train sta­tion is about to open with its new de­sign and this will again en­cour­age peo­ple to think ‘oh there’s some­thing worth com­ing into Mt Al­bert for’.’’

Sergeant Ge­off Medland is in charge of the polic­ing team that cov­ers the area.

He says a per­ceived in­crease in crime could be at­trib­uted to higher re­port­ing be­cause of the more fre­quent pa­trols his team is do­ing in the area.

Mr Medland says CCTV can be help­ful in deal­ing with crime, but there are other fac­tors and op­tions that also need to be con­sid­ered.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

We’re watch­ing: Mt Al­bert Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity Groups As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber Cather­ine Good­win, Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board mem­ber Pauline An­der­son, and Mt Al­bert Com­mu­nity Pa­trols mem­ber Tony Mayes hope a new CCTV sys­tem will make peo­ple feel safer.

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