Bright lights and surveillance for safety
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.
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.