New police cameras in crime hot spots

Big brother in Brighton, Addington, Riccarton

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 07:07 11/04/2014
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 is expanding to keep an eye on suburban trouble spots that have emerged post-earthquake.

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

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

The cameras, which can pan 360-degrees and operate in extremely low light, are monitored around the clock by police and a team of 40 volunteers at the Christchurch Central Police Station.

Police say their introduction is intended to prevent crime rather than invade people's privacy.

Signs have been put up in the general areas where the cameras are located.

"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 alcohol- fuelled street crimes like disorder and assault, 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."

Using the technology, vandals had also been caught, he said.

The network could be expanded further in the future.

New Brighton Business and Landowners Association manager Paul Zaanen welcomed the move after years of lobbying.

"It's another step in the right direction. The council and police have been proactive . . . in partnership with the community to get these in," he said.

In November, the area hit the headlines after disability beneficiary David Ball was robbed of $320 outside the New Brighton Library. It prompted public outcry and a meeting to confront an increased sense of crime. Zaanen said the community had since banded together and been successful at bringing down the crime rate.

MONITORING SITES

Locations of the new cameras Addington: Cnr of Lincoln Rd/ Harman St, Lincoln Rd between Clarence St and Wise St.

Riccarton: Cnr Riccarton Rd/ Matipo St, Cnr Riccarton Rd/ Rotherham St.

Upper Riccarton: Cnr Riccarton Rd/Waimairi Rd.

Merivale: Cnr Papanui Rd/ Aikmans Rd

New Brighton: Cnr Seaview Rd/Union St, Brighton Mall, Marine Parade (The Pier), Marine Parade (New Brighton Library).

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- The Press

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