Bright lights and sur­veil­lance for safety

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

Auck­land’s cen­tral park, link­ing stu­dents to the city, has been kit­ted out with CCTV cam­eras and bright lights to make peo­ple feel safe.

Auck­land Trans­port ( AT) is man­ag­ing a pro­gramme to make Al­bert Park safer by up­grad­ing sur­round­ing street lights with LED bulbs, with plans to up­grade the park’s her­itage lamps in the next few months.

Auck­land Coun­cil will also spend about $80,000 on CCTV cam­eras in the park and on its perime­ter.

These changes come af­ter the New Zealand Chi­nese Stu­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion called for safety im­prove­ments af­ter four sep­a­rate at­tacks took place against Asian stu­dents in March last year.

One of these in­ci­dents in­volved two fe­male Chi­nese stu­dents who were at­tacked and robbed in Al­bert Park.

Auck­land coun­cil­lor Mike Lee was con­vinced Asian stu­dents were be­ing tar­geted by ‘‘preda­tory gangs’’ of rob­bers. How­ever for­mer Mayor Len Brown and po­lice in­sisted the at­tacks were not co­or­di­nated.

The cam­eras would al­low agen­cies such as Auck­land Trans­port, Auck­land Coun­cil and the po­lice to mon­i­tor and re­spond to any safety is­sues.

LED bulbs, which were de­signed to pro­duce a white light more like day­light, would make it eas­ier to see and recog­nise shapes and colours af­ter dark.

New Zealand Chi­nese Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion spokesper­son Cindy Huang said the up­grades were nec­es­sary.

‘‘A lot of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents live in town and usu­ally walk across Al­bert Park and a lot of stu­dents stay late study­ing,’’ Huang said.

‘‘Most of the stu­dents want cam­eras and sur­veil­lance so if some­thing hap­pens at least it will be recorded and they will have some proof.’’

Huang said stu­dents were also en­cour­aged to walk home to­gether if they stud­ied late.

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board chair Pippa Coom said the board had been want­ing to see this hap­pen for some time.

She said with the ap­proach to win­ter light­ing path­ways was es­sen­tial.

‘‘The more peo­ple who use it as a route the bet­ter.’’

Coun­cil did not want to pro­vide the num­ber of cam­eras be­ing in­stalled be­cause it could lessen the im­pact of pub­lic safety.

SUP­PLIED

Al­bert Park’s sur­round­ing street lights have been up­graded with LED bulbs and about $80,000 will be spent on CCTV cam­eras through­out the park.

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