Casino’s CBD will soon have security surveillance cameras, as a result of an almost half-million-dollar pledge by the Nationals during the recent election campaign.
Newly elected Page MP Kevin Hogan had pledged $463,969 to Richmond Valley Council (RVC) to install CCTV cameras around the CBD, as part of the coalition’s $50-million CCTV policy announcement.
The change in government should now prove valuable to RVC as the council had not succeeded under the previous government in a funding bid under the Attorney-General’s National Crime Prevention Fund.
However, RVC general manager John Walker told Council at its meeting this week that the incoming coalition government had confirmed that ‘all election pledges will be honoured in full’.
Council will use the funding to install up to 55 CCTV cameras on Walker, Barker, Centre and Canterbury streets in Casino.
RVC communications manager Sharon Davidson told Echonetdaily that ‘when we conducted our community surveys as part of our Community Strategic Plan we found out that less than five per cent of the community felt safe in the CBD, which is a dreadful number to have in your community’.
Ms Davidson said, ‘this is why RVC needed to act straightaway. Some of our local businesses have been broken into many times and have installed their own CCTVs, so we as Council thought we can help out as well by putting in more cameras around town.’
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research compiled figures in 2012 for break and enters (non-dwelling) and ranked the Richmond Valley local government area (LGA) 14 out of the 140 LGAs that have populations greater than 3,000.
To place in a regional context, Ballina LGA ranked 62, Byron LGA 40, Lismore LGA 37, Tweed LGA 87, and Kyogle LGA was the highest regional ranking at seven.
RVC mayor Ernie Bennett has said previously that ‘by and large, evidence has shown CCTV is well received and welcomed by local communities because it makes them feel safer’.
Newly elected deputy mayor of RVC, Ms Sandra Humpreys, told Echonetdaily, ‘this is the first stage, as with further funding we would like to extend the CCTV coverage area to Coraki and Evans Head’.
Ms Humpreys said that ‘the funding can go pretty quickly as we want to get the highest quality cameras, otherwise you cannot identify from the footage’.
Byron Shire Council (BSC) was also unsuccessful under the previous government in their National Crimes Fund application.
According to BSC mayor Simon Richardson, the application included $350,000 towards lighting improvements in Byron Bay town centre and working in partnership with Byron Youth Service to deliver $150,000 worth of youth programs.
Cr Richardson had previously said, ‘Byron Bay has received national media attention because of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour’.
‘We need the improved street lighting for upgrading environmental design as a key strategy to tackle antisocial behaviour,’ he said. ‘It’s a lot less inviting to get up to no good when you are under a spotlight and likely to be observed.’
‘We also need additional funding to educate and support our local youth about binge drinking and harm minimisation.’