87% Graffiti Reduction

 

Cameras stay secret



By Tania Martin
15th September 2009

 

CARDINIA Shire Council has assured Cockatoo residents that there are surveillance cameras operating across the shire.

This comes as the Mail reported in its front page story What Cameras? last week that residents were calling for the shroud of secrecy surrounding the proposed CCTV cameras to be revealed.

In September 2007 the Federal Government announced $445,770 for the project.

But the council said the cash was not for CCTV cameras.

Shire spokesman Paul Dunlop said the funding was for the implementation of a series of crime and graffiti prevention initiatives.

This included an early intervention programs to target young people aged 10–25 years across the shire with particular focus on the townships of Cockatoo, Pakenham and Beaconsfield.

Mr Dunlop said the money was used to purchase mobile rapid apprehension technology.

He said the cash was never intended for fixed CCTV cameras.

Mr Dunlop said the covert nature of the program meant the council was unable to reveal the camera locations.

“Most residents would understand that if the location of these devises were known, they would not be effective,” he said.

However, Mr Dunlop said equipment was being utilised in Cockatoo and other townships across the shire with success in ‘hot spot’ locations.

According to the council an independent graffiti audit in June had shown a 66 per cent reduction in graffiti across the shire and 87 per cent reduction in Cockatoo over the past 12 months.

“Residents may not be able to see the technology in action but rest assure it is being used and is having a benefit,” Mr Dunlop said.

The council has also attributed the success of the program in Cockatoo to the close working relationship with local police and the township group.

“The funds are being spent on the intended purpose and will be externally audited on completion of the project in 2011,” Mr Dunlop said. One trader, who didn’t want to be named, has questioned if the surveillance technology would be able to apprehend offenders who broke into his store on the weekend.

“Police should be able to do something about it then… be able to apprehend them,” he said.

The front door of the man’s shop was smashed shortly after 4am on Monday morning.

“By the time I got down stairs they were gone,” he said.

La Trobe MP Jason Wood is now calling for the council to show him the covert camera locations so he can assure his constituents that they are in place.