Police see opportunity to install street cameras

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Margaret River Police officer-in-charge Sgt Luke Fowler says the main street development could include CCTV.
Camera IconMargaret River Police officer-in-charge Sgt Luke Fowler says the main street development could include CCTV.

Police say Margaret River’s main street redevelopment is a golden opportunity to revisit crime prevention options such as a closed-circuit TV network for the CBD.

Margaret River officer in charge Sgt Luke Fowler said past State Government-funded CCTV projects had helped other regional centres curb antisocial behaviour and provide key information on crimes.

Although it was understood CCTV was not a popular look, Sgt Fowler said police were over-reliant on the goodwill of main-street traders.

“We might be asking them for footage that has nothing to do with them,” he said. “I’ve raised it with the Shire and it’s something we would support. It’s just such a good preventative measure.

They’re visible and people think ‘Margaret River isn’t an easy target’.”

Previous Margaret River OIC Brett Cassidy made the same call, earlier during the main street planning process.

Shire of Augusta-Margaret River acting infrastructure services director David Nicholson said there was no inclusion of CCTV in the existing redevelopment plan.

“The Shire will consider re-applying for grant funding for CCTV cameras if there was widespread community support for such an initiative,” he said.

There is no current State CCTV grants scheme, but local governments can apply for similar funding through the criminal property confiscation grants program, announced last week.

Settlers Tavern owner Rob Gough said CCTV would help prevent crime and increase public safety on the main street.

“I know many main-street businesses have CCTV installed in and around their businesses, but fall short of covering public areas,” he said.

Margaret River Chamber of Commerce president Melissa d’Ath said traders were keen to support local police, but didn’t want “to lose that country-town feel”.

“If there is a full report and proposal put forward, the chamber would review, comment and support,” she said.

“In theory, we believe it is a benefit to the security of local small businesses and can assist in damages being resolved faster.

“However, we would encourage that the process and implementation is done with in-depth community consultation.”

Ms d’Ath said there would be cost issues running a CCTV network, and questions as to who would install it. The police view was further informed by a rash of thefts from vehicles and unlocked holiday homes, often reported too late for footage to be retrieved.

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