Crime in the Coffs Harbour CBD was a topic of discussion at the latest Community Precinct Safety Consultation.
Inspector Brendan Gorman from the Coffs Clarence Police District addressed a recently undertaken crime safety audit of areas including Park Avenue and surrounding laneways.
Graffiti, rubbish, trees and a lack of lighting were described as issues that can cause a feeling of fear for the public.
During the presentation CCTV was raised again as a way to assist Police with driving down crime in the precinct.
The implementation of CCTV is not a new discussion with the matter raised at a previous forum in the Coffs Council Chambers.
While the Council’s recent “Draft Delivery Program” document highlights CCTV in the CBD as a project on the radar, at this stage it doesn’t appear as a priority.
A commercial business unit of the Coffs Harbour City Council, CitySmart Solutions, develops and supplies CCTV Network services commercially, however for Coffs Harbour, the delivery of CCTV in the CBD is “provisional on the future availability of funding’ according to the document.
According to the Coffs Harbour City Council’s Director Business Services, Andrew Beswick, he told Triple M, “CitySmart Solutions operates a business unit of Council earning revenue from three main areas”.
One of these areas includes CCTV network design and build.
“Customers of the business are generally other local governments, predominantly in NSW, who pay our business unit to undertake these works on commercial terms”, he wrote.
Mr Beswick said that as part of the City Centre Masterplan, Council would like to design and build a more extensive and integrated CCTV network as one measure addressing community safety.
“Works under the masterplan are currently funded through a Special Rate applied to City Centre properties. This is one possible source of funding, however most of this funding is already committed to specific City Centre infrastructure projects”, Mr Beswick said.
According to the Director, “the other likely source of funding is from grants and Council will continue to pursue these as and when they become available”.
CCTV Networks have proved very successful in other cities.
Ipswich in Queensland implemented CCTV in the mid 1990's with a program called SafeCity. The network includes a monitoring centre with a police officer also in the centre who can liaise with officers live at the scene of criminal incidents.
The network allows Police with dealing with crimes to have the monitoring centre look back on who is causing the trouble, rather than having to question everyone on site to get that information.
Recently, a major police incident at Redbank Plaza in Ipswich avoided disaster when officers discovered explosives in the back of a vehicle. The only thing that tipped off Police was noticing some unusual activity at the shopping centre carpark on the SafeCity cameras.
The current timeline states that for Coffs Harbour the CBD CCTV design would happen in the 2017/18 financial year which has just concluded, with implementation to take place within each financial year from 2018-2021.