The Illawarra's Liberal council hopefuls say they would target "crime hotspots" with an increased spend on installing CCTV cameras during the next council term.
Lead candidates from Wollongong and Shellharbour met in Helensburgh on Friday – near the site of a ram raid on the suburb’s Coles which happened in June – to call for 'more action' to boost the existing council CCTV policies.
Joined by two NSW MPs – Lee Evans and Gareth Ward – the politicians called on the council to install surveillance camera’s in Helensburgh’s main street as “added protection for residents”.
Mr Evans said he had written to the council’s general manager, David Farmer to requiest CCTV camera’s be installed.
All Liberal Party candidates have pledged a greater focus on street cameras if they are elected, with mayoral hopeful John Dorahy saying he wants more installed.
“We have a plan for more CCTV cameras across our region, because people want to feel safe and businesses want to protect their staff and business from vandalism and theft,” he said.
“We want to work with police, residents and businesses to identify hot-spots to deliver CCTV cameras were they are needed most.”
“This is about ensuring place that are vulnerable get the attention they require.”
He said he did not know how many more cameras would be able to be installed, as this would need to be developed in consultation with residents and police.
Northern suburbs council candidate Leigh Colacino said the commitment to install more cameras would come with an increased cost, but said this would be worth it if people felt safer and crimes were captured.
“It’s going to save money it the long run and if we don’t do it, that’s equating to a larger cost to the community,” he said. No cost estimates have been given.
The council already has CCTV cameras installed at about 30 locations, mostly near public buildings (see full list online).
In July, existing Wollongong councillors voted to update the city’s CCTV policy, which includes measures to work with police.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said he was I in favour of using CCTV as part of the council’s crime prevention strategy.
“We’re already doing this,” he said. “The problem with CCTV is that they’re not monitored within real time and they are often just used to collect evidence of crimes. And, even then, we’ve noticed that some of the people who commit crimes can wear hoodies and be hard to identify.
“It is naive to think that CCTV will cure all the problems – it is one tool in many that we are already using to monitor challenging situations.”
Cr Bradbery said he would be supportive of installing cameras in Corrimal, near the inclusive playground Luke’s Place, which has been a site of regular vandalism in recent months.
“Importantly, it’s a matter of having the resources to put these things in, and working with the police personel to respond and deal with the footage that it collected.
“It’s not as easy as the Libs are making out.”
During the current term of Wollongong council, other councillors have also pushed for more CCTV.
For instance, independent Greg Petty – also from Helensbugh – has called for the council to covertly monitor known sites of illegal dumping.
Existing Wollongong council CCTV locations
- Beaton Park Leisure Centre
- Lakeside Leisure Centre
- Bulli Tourist Park
- Corrimal tourist park
- Windang tourist park
- Wollongong crematorium
- Warrawong library
- Helensburgh library
- Helensburgh waste disposal depot
- Whytes Gully
- Council headquarters and car park
- Wollongong City Centre and Crown Street Mall, and adjacent streets
- Council depots
- Dapto Ribbonwood Centre
- Thirroul community centre
- Corrimal community centre /library
- Integral building 81-83 Burelli Street
- 93 Crown Street
- Entrance to Puckey’s Beach
- Bathers Pavilion
- Wollongong Youth Centre
- Wollongong Art Galley
- Town Hall
- Marine Drive
- Berkeley pool