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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Byron mayor won’t budge on CCTV

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The latest weekend orgy of violence in Byron Bay in the middle of winter has not changed the mind of Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson, on the installation of closed circuit television cameras in the town.

Mr Richardson said this morning that it would be ‘illegal’ for the council to use federal funds to install the cameras, despite other local government areas (including most recently Richmond Valley Council) doing so because ‘they do not stop crime’.

Police yesterday renewed their calls after a catalogue of weekend incidents that included the issuing of 21 ‘move on’ notices, seven criminal infringement notices for alcohol-fuelled offensive behaviour, and intercepting a gang of teens in the process of trashing the Apex Park toilet block.

One local resident told Echonetdaily yesterday he was afraid to walk from the cinema to the car park in the evening because of the number of night time attacks in the Bay and people from neighbouring towns say they are avoiding Byron at night.

But, although Byron Shire Council has recently applied for $500,000 funding to improve streetscaping and lighting in the town, it won’t be asking for a cent towards CCTV.

Mayor Richardson said, ‘we do have provision from crime prevention. But what I would contend – and what any expert who wants to look at it would contend – is that it has insignificant, if any, effect on crime reduction.

‘So we can’t in all good conscience put in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of CCTV to say that we’re going to prevent crime – and that’s the only reason we could – if we know it’s not,’ he told ABC North Coast this morning.

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  1. We need MORE CCTV cameras, not fewer! It’s just a facile argument to just say they don’t prevent crime. They sure as hell help police track down offenders and criminals post facto, to present as court evidence. Just knowing that is enough to deter at least some thugs from playing up in the streets and outside pubs.

  2. This is a tough question, but I still come down on the individual’s right to a modicum of privacy versus constant surveillance.
    Better the money going into police/community relations, rehabilitation for offenders and town beautification projects (in the belief that a more attractive environment is conducive to better behaviour, or at least makes badness stand out). Trust me, drunken louts don’t think about cameras, and more sophisticated crims can work around them. This 1984 Big brother watching mentality is so… 1984.
    In all respect Jon, I think we can do better…


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