Council, police welcome CCTV success

A review of AlburyCity’s CCTV system has found the network of 52 cameras across the CBD has significantly reduced crime while also improving the public’s perception of safety in the city centre.

Among the areas to benefit most is the Volt Lane car park where anti-social behaviour such as drug use in the stairwells has effectively ceased since cameras were installed there, while the rate of vandalism has fallen significantly.

This has resulted in a 64 per cent reduction in costs to ratepayers for graffiti removal and a 41 per cent reduction in other vandalism-related costs.

Police have also provided anecdotal information that the cameras have helped to identify offenders, improve methods of providing evidence in court and provide corroboration of witness statements.

Eleven per cent of Albury residents surveyed four months after the installation of the system said they believed crime had decreased in the CBD and a survey of 85 Dean Street business owners found that 19 per cent have experienced fewer problems with crime in the past 12 months.

The acting chair of AlburyCity’s Crime Prevention Committee, Cr Murray King, said the results so far were pleasing but it was important that the council and police continue to work together to fight crime.

“The CCTV has been an invaluable tool to police, with 33 items of footage provided on application in the last financial year helping to convict criminals and improve the public’s perception that crime in the CBD is being reduced,” he said.

“The challenge now is to build upon that success to make our streets as safe as they can be.”

Inspector Scott Russell of Albury Police said the CCTV network had been an important tool for police.

“This is a great partnership with AlburyCity that has helped police to not only prevent crime but also to identify, apprehend and prosecute offenders who thought they could get away with breaking the law,” he said.

At their meeting on Monday night, councillors will decide whether to approve an investigation into the cost and feasibility of the roll-out of more CCTV cameras.

Potential locations for new cameras include the Lavington CBD.

The installation of the CCTV network was made possible by funding under the Federal Government’s Safer Communities Fund.