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Upgrade sought for town security cameras

April 16th, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka Community Board will look for ways to fund a long-overdue renewal of the 17 security cameras in the central town area.

At its meeting on Tuesday they heard a detailed presentation by the Community Constable Grant Heaney about the past effectiveness of the cameras, and why they now need to be replaced.

The first cameras were installed in 2002 after a growing spate of vandalism and petty crime at night, mainly around shops. They cost $20,000 and were monitored in real time through links to the Police Station.

Grant said they were very effective, and by 2006 over 40 offenders had been caught thanks to cameras. Five have been caught this year alone.

Since the early success, further cameras were placed around town, though they were all stand-alone units, meaning the video they recorded had to be retrieved from the location after a crime was committed to look for evidence.

Such stand-alone cameras are now almost impossible to source as replacements when they break down, so the police are working with a local security expert, Ken Eccles, to design a high-definition system with 17 cameras all linked back to the Police Station.

Such are the advances of modern technology that the whole system (17 cameras plus wireless communication back to base) is estimated to cost the $20,000.

The community board agreed with Grant that the issue was not just for business owners. The cameras have been so successful that most people thinking of petty crime in the CBD know they will probably get caught. This makes the town safer for all residents. It also saves money for insurance companies.

Grant said that police would not be able to contribute to the renewal. The cameras are on the TDC's asset register, but there is no budget for their renewals, the community board were told.

Various ideas for raising the $20,000 were discussed, including asking for contributions from central shop owners, larger community-minded businesses, insurance companies, and ratepayers (possibly through the board's Special Projects fund).

TDC chief executive Lindsay McKenzie, who was present at the meeting, gave helpful advice which the board agreed to follow - to build a business case not only for the purchase of the cameras but also their on-going maintenance and renewal, and ask for TDC's support in principle and possibly also in money.

With that in place, it would make it much easier to go to potential funders who would have confidence in the longer-term viability of the project.

Lindsay promised that if the community board could build their business case, he would have the matter resolved within Council by the next board meeting.


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