CCTV cameras in the Sanctuary Point shopping precinct could be considered following a police safety audit.
Shoalhaven City Council voted at the January 22 meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee, to request police conduct a safety audit of the troubled shopping precinct.
Should the audit recommend CCTV cameras be installed in the area, council will explore the option.
Council undertook community consultation in 2011 and 2012 which included a survey of business operators, a community survey and an evening meeting with business operators.
It was reported to the committee that the survey found the community was generally in favour of CCTV cameras.
However, the response from business operators was divided and indicated no clear interest in the installation of cameras.
Should the provision of CCTV cameras for the area be recommended by police, a number of issues would have to be addressed by council.
Significant funding would need to be sought for the installation of CCTV cameras and associated equipment.
However the fact that the shops are on private property and the front car park is also privately owned presents added complexity.
Council would need to explore whether government funding could be made available for the installation of cameras in privately owned areas.
Following the controversy and legal action in the wake of council’s installation of CCTV cameras in the Nowra CBD in recent years, it appears council is taking a more cautious approach in Sanctuary Point.
The minutes of the committee’s meeting stated that international research into the use and effectiveness of CCTV has highlighted a number of considerations for council in the future investigation of CCTV in public places.
Anti-CCTV campaigner Adam Bonner pointed out a number of similar international studies when he took council to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal over the installation of the Nowra cameras.
The minutes state that in relation to the Sanctuary point precinct it is important to note that this research highlights that CCTV is not a cure-all for crime; there are other crime prevention tools that may be cheaper to initiate and may be more effective; the success of CCTV varies with the type of crime being targeted and the location.
Council believes an initial operation and maintenance budget of $10,000 per year would be likely, a cost that is currently unfunded.