A $500,000 federal grant application by Byron Shire Council to improve safety in Byron Bay has excluded an application for CCTV, prompting disappointment from the town’s business chamber of commerce.
Byron mayor Simon Richardson says council’s application for the National Crime Prevention Fund included $350,000 for improved environmental design focussing on upgrading lighting in town centre hotspots. He told Echonetdaily, ‘The remaining $150,000 is in partnership with Byron Youth Services (BYS) for youth programs including Street Cruise, a young male mentoring program and a Friday night at the Youth Activity Centre (YAC).’
He says council was also successful earlier this year in being awarded $50,000 from the NSW Crime Prevention program for education and late night transport within Byron Bay.
Defending the lack of inclusion of CCTV, he said, ‘Our funding application was for preventing crime… It was not about law enforcement as this is a matter for the police. There is still questionable evidence that CCTV actually prevents crime and this was raised in the judgment on the recent Nowra CCTV case. The judgment found that expert evidence suggested that CCTV does little to prevent crime.
‘Improved lighting minimises crime and benefits everybody. Better environmental design, planting, street furniture and the development of public spaces can reduce crime and benefits all of us, every day and night.’
Cr Richardson added that costs for ongoing maintenance and monitoring of CCTV would need to be factored in for it to be operational, and to date that has not been addressed.
But Byron United (chamber of commerce) president Paul Waters says he ‘cannot fathom why, in this climate of uncertainty on our streets, that council does not want to take this opportunity to make our streets safer – I cannot express our disappointment enough!’ He added that funding of this magnitude for CCTV, ‘will not come our way for a very long time.’