Crime­buster on job

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

GET­TING away with crime in One­hunga isn’t easy.

A broad net­work of CCTV cam­eras op­er­ated by the One­hunga Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion in con­junc­tion with po­lice has been keep­ing a watch­ful eye over the town cen­tre for the last two years. And it is prov­ing its worth. ‘‘We haven’t re­ally ad­ver­tised it a lot be­cause we wanted to make sure what it brings is value,’’ as­so­ci­a­tion man­ager Amanda Kinzett says.

One­hunga is one of a small hand­ful of Auck­land town cen­tres with its own CCTV net­work.

What makes it unique is that it is mon­i­tored by one ded­i­cated se­cu­rity guard, a woman named Sa­tia.

‘‘That’s the key. She gets to know who the trou­ble­mak­ers are, so when they come in we watch them and see what they’re up to,’’ Ms Kinzett says.

There are 27 cam­eras in the net­work which are mon­i­tored dur­ing the day and con­tinue to record through the night.

Sa­tia is of­ten a step ahead of trou­ble.

‘‘The other week she was watch­ing a group and they just didn’t look right.

‘‘We got the po­lice there and there was a fight or­gan­ised.

‘‘We pre­vented that fight from hap­pen­ing,’’ Ms Kinzett says.

It’s also the things that might nor­mally go un­no­ticed that are get­ting picked up.

‘‘One of our lo­cal va­grants was at the bus stop and we no­ticed he was talk­ing to this girl who was look­ing hor­ren­dously un­com­fort­able so Sa­tia went and sat with her un­til the bus ar­rived,’’ she says.

‘‘The poor girl was be­side her­self, she was on the phone cry­ing to her mum.

‘‘It is those sorts of things that help make our com­mu­nity feel safe.’’

CCTV needs to be mon­i­tored to be wholly ef­fec­tive, One­hunga com­mu­nity polic­ing team sergeant Rhys Smith says.

‘‘Sa­tia’s recog­ni­tion faces is amaz­ing.

‘‘In one case we got a 111 call about some guys try­ing to break into a car.

‘‘She’d seen the sus­pects

of match­ing the de­scrip­tion about 30 min­utes be­fore, so she tracked them back from the cam­eras and sure enough they were spot­ted in a side street.

‘‘She emailed us through a snap­shot and and we got them.’’

In another case she spot­ted a man po­lice thought was re­spon­si­ble for a bike theft a year ear­lier.

‘‘I didn’t know what she was talk­ing about for a few min­utes un­til she jogged my mem­ory.’’

Sa­tia says there are no ‘‘tricks’’ to her suc­cess rate.

‘‘It’s about know­ing my cam­eras and know­ing which one links up to which.

‘‘If you lose them on one, you know where they’ll go next,’’ she says.

The net­work was in­stalled in re­sponse to ve­hi­cles be­ing stolen and or bro­ken into around the town cen­tre.

Ini­tially there were 10 cam­eras and the as­so­ci­a­tion worked with the po­lice to find the prob­lem spots, Ms Kinzett says.

‘‘There are still a few ar­eas we need to cover which are a bit con­cern­ing and we’re get­ting there but it’s not cheap.’’

She says visi­tors to the town cen­tre don’t need to be con­cerned about pri­vacy.

Sa­tia is a li­censed se­cu­rity guard and the sys­tem works within le­gal re­quire­ments.

‘‘For the gen­eral pub­lic it’s about try­ing to keep them and their pos­ses­sions safe and try­ing to iden­tify peo­ple who might be try­ing to take that away from them,’’ she says.

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