New police crime cameras for Christchurch

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 16:05 10/04/2014
Christchuch crime prevention cameras
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ

POLICE WATCH: Ten new crime cameras are about to come online in Christchurch suburbs, increasing safety and security for residents and people visiting the areas.

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Christchurch's network of crime-fighting surveillance cameras has been expanded to keep an eye on suburban trouble spots that have emerged post-quake.

Ten police-monitored cameras will soon be up and running in Riccarton, Upper Riccarton, Addington, Merivale and New Brighton.

The locations were selected after analysis of crime and police call-outs, and bring the number of the council-funded cameras in the city to 68.

Their introduction is intended to prevent crime rather than invade people's privacy.

''If you're doing what normal people should be doing then a camera watching you shouldn't be a big issue,'' Inspector Peter Cooper said.

Christchurch's nightlife had moved significantly from the central city to the suburbs post-quake, which had seen a shift in crime, he said.

The cameras allowed police to monitor trouble spots in real time and dispatch patrols to incidents before they escalated. Investigators could also review footage to identify suspects or vehicles and watch events unfold.

"We're confident that these new cameras will have a positive impact on our ability to respond rapidly to incidents and to gather information to help solve crimes,'' Cooper said. 

''I have no doubt that in many cases the cameras, and our team of operators, have been instrumental in preventing serious assaults and disorder.'' 

The cameras were monitored around the clock by police and a team of 40 volunteers at the Christchurch central police station. They could pan 360 degrees and operate in extremely low light. 

Signs had been put up in the general areas where the cameras were located.

The network could be expanded further in the future.

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- The Press

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