Dashcam footage leads to arrest
A new dashcam being used by a team of volunteers with Whangārei Community Patrol has proved its worth on the first night of operation with one person arrested for disorderly behaviour.
The patrols act as eyes and ears for the police by patrolling residential, business and industrial areas around the city.
A tech upgrade to the latest dashcam has boosted the patrols’ capabilities. They have the latest Mivue860 dashcam with high definition front and rear cameras, GPS tracking, Sony low light sensor, and wi-fi, donated by Navman GPS.
The new equipment was used for the first time on Guy Fawkes night last month and resulted in an arrest.
Patroller Adam Young said there was some disorderly behaviour around the city on the night. “Police were unable to immediately respond to reports of disorder at an important tourism location, so they tasked the Community Patrol to assess the situation,” he said.
The job of the patrols was to observe and report to police if a situation got out of hand.
“Normally we arrive on scene and things break up once they realise we are watching, but the situation got quite serious this time and we contacted the police. Fortunately, the whole incident was caught in crystal clear footage,” Young said.
Traditionally after an incident takes place the Community Patrol submits a report to police.
However, if an offender denies
‘Normally we arrive on scene and things break up once they realise we are watching, but the situation got quite serious this time and we contacted the police. Fortunately, the whole incident was caught in crystal clear footage.’ ADAM YOUNG
wrongdoing, depending on the situation, laying charges was not always straightforward.
“In this case we were 100 metres away and we could still make out what was going on in the footage and who was making the trouble. Police said the footage was conclusive and in the end there was an arrest.”
The new camera allows the patrollers to connect to their smartphone with Wi-fi and instantly share footage.
Sergeant James Calvert from the Whangārei Area Prevention Team said they are always interested in receiving footage from the public.
“It is absolutely vital the police and the community at large co-operate to prevent and solve crime. Without that cooperation and information flow the police could not function,” he said. “While a description of how an offender assaulted someone can tell a story, the video of it happening is far more compelling and can show lots of other details including facial expressions, determination, or how hard someone may have punched.”
Dashcam footage has become popular with Facebook communities and websites dedicated to uploading the debacles on Kiwi roads, but police can’t monitor everything.
“Police are active in this space but cannot monitor everything all the time. If people are aware of footage showing offending on the internet then please let us know, just like any other crime,” Calvert said.
Young believes having the new high-tech camera will make the job of patrolling easier. “The camera doesn’t lie. Looking over the footage again you might recall an extra bit of information that proves useful. Because of the quality of the footage, on this occasion we may not even have to attend court to give evidence.”
Young began working for the Whangārei Community Patrol six years ago after he was attacked at a service station and decided he wanted to help prevent these types of incidents. “If you see something suspicious, ring police even if it’s a small thing. They would rather investigate than allow something bad to happen.”
Whanga¯ rei Community Patrol are out on the beat with the latest technology to record those engaging in criminal activities.