Thursday, 21 May 2009 - 4:04pm |
National News

New Crime Cameras switched on

2 min read

Twenty-five new crime prevention cameras were switched on in Christchurch today (Thursday 21 May).

Located within the central city, the cameras were bought by the City Council and will be monitored by the Christchurch Police, being used to enhance public safety and locate offenders.

In 2008, the existing 13 cameras helped Police with almost 80 arrests, to locate 27 missing people, seven witnesses to a homicide and to assist in identifying and locating the suspect for the stabbing of a tourist.

Canterbury Police District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff says with there being a three-fold increase in the number of cameras in the central city the Police would expect the cameras will play a more significant role in assisting Police in reducing central city crime and violence.

"For Police, the prime focus of using the cameras is to increase public safety. We continually assess the location of the cameras to ensure they are located where we can best monitor social movement in the central city.

"During the day, the cameras are used by staff to locate suspicious or criminal activity in the central city, missing persons, breaches of bail and warrants to arrest."

The footage is carried to the control room over Christchurch City Networks' fibre optic cables. The Christchurch City Council subsidiary uses world-class technology to provide a reliable, ultra fast, and secure connection between the cameras and the Police control centre. The clarity of the footage is superior to anything seen previously and will assist the police to ensure the safety of the central city.

Dave Cliff says at night the cameras are monitored by a team of volunteers who provide Police with information on incidents of suspicious activity, fighting, disorder, assault, intoxicated persons, drugs, intentional damage, graffiti and offensive behaviour. "This enables officers on the beat to quickly response to incidents."

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says the Council's decision to spend almost $1 million on 25 additional crime prevention cameras for the central city was to help create a safer city for our residents and visitors to Christchurch, while also ensuring we have a vibrant night-time economy.

"Making Christchurch the safest city in New Zealand has always been a top priority for this Council. Early in the term we adopted a zero tolerance for violence and have been proactive in reducing crime and violence in the city.

"These crime prevention cameras are just one of the safety measures the Council has introduced in the last 18 months and I am confident the cameras will make a difference."

Mr Parker says last October the Council introduced Safe City Officers to patrol the streets at night, helping to raise residents and visitors perception of safety in the central city after dark, and the following month the Alcohol Accord changed its one-way door to 3am to help reduce late-night crime and violence.

"Combined, these three measures will do much in coming months to help reduce incidents of crime and violence, assist locating offenders and change public perceptions about safety in Christchurch."