CCTV cameras in Tamworth’s CBD have helped police put a dent in alcohol-related crimes but now more are needed to catch criminals in the wider area.
Past media reports have shown that CCTV footage has aided Tamworth police in identifying offenders and lead to arrests, including the young boys’ vandalism spree at The Atrium shopping centre two weeks ago and others responsible for graffiti to businesses and public property.
Oxley Local Area Command Licensing Sergeant Doug Chester said cameras had been installed in the CBD because that was a focus area and “hotspot” for police, but there were improvements that could still be made.
“The whole area isn’t captured as well as we’d like,” Sergeant Chester said.
He said alcohol-fuelled assaults at two central Tamworth hotels were the lowest they had been in five years and attributed that to the installation of CCTV equipment that allowed police to identify those involved.
But Sergeant Chester said people didn’t always commit crimes in the CBD, and anti-social behaviour was more likely to occur in residential areas as revellers made their way home.
“There are definitely more (cameras) needed,” he said.
“Other things happen outside the CBD that are and are not alcohol related.”
There are four CCTV cameras in the CBD and discussions are under way to use the $150,000 of CCTV expansion funding from the federal Attorney-General’s department to bring in four more.
Tamworth deputy mayor and Crime Prevention Working Group member Russell Webb said he would be pushing for more CCTV cameras in and around the Tamworth area.
The crime prevention group is still finding its feet after the recent council election and is yet to elect a chairman, but Cr Webb said members would be likely to advocate for more cameras if the funding became available.
“They have proven very helpful in identifying criminals,” he said.
Cr Webb said the recent case at The Atrium, where three young boys were seen vandalising the shopping centre and causing about $5000 worth of damage, was an example of how CCTV could work in a positive way.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance this week spoke out against extensive CCTV rollouts, saying cameras could breach privacy rights and be misused by authorities.
“A line definitely needs to be drawn in the sand as to where these cameras are installed. It is important to ensure we don’t create a dangerous Big Brother state,” a spokesman said.