Geelong has less CCTV than other cities of a similar size
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 Geelong has less CCTV than other cities of a similar size

Aleks Devic

August 8th, 2009

GEELONG is at odds with other major cities around Australia with its use of security cameras.

A Geelong Advertiser investigation revealed Geelong had considerably less cameras than other cities of a similar size.

Geelong has 17 cameras while Wollongong has 100 in its CBD and Hobart has 100 just along its waterfront.

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Cairns recently upped its surveillance with an extra 15 cameras taking its total to 59.

Doubts were raised over Geelong's safety cameras after a man punched a 20-year-old girl in Moorabool St on Sunday morning and authorities were unable to confirm if the assault was captured on CCTV.

Geelong's cameras are monitored between Thursday and Saturday but are kept rolling every day.

Cairns' inner city safety manger Malcolm Robertson said their cameras were monitored around the clock and, at the first hint of trouble, security officers were dispensed to defuse the situation.

"Unless they are monitored, it's pointless because you are not proactively looking for trouble and it becomes a butt-covering exercise," Mr Robertson said.

Geelong Nightlife Association's Darren Holroyd said the surveillance cameras worked well with other initiatives, including ID scanners and two-way radio contact between nightspots to weed out trouble makers.

Albury City Council recently ruled out installing cameras after a briefing from British police who said they did not reduce crime.

"We decided it was not value for money and we were not convinced it would solve problems," the council's community director James Jenkins said.

He said the council would pour its funds into better lighting, ensuring the taxi ranks were manned and to keep the midnight bus running.

Geelong Mayor John Mitchell said he was not aware of any plans to expand the city's safety cameras.

"If something happens out of their range is it different to something happening in the suburbs," Cr Mitchell said.

"They are not there to be big brother and watch everybody's move."

Geelong police Sergeant Tony Francis said the surveillance cameras nabbed about 12 people a week for behavioural offences.

"In the perfect world, you would want them all over the city, suburbs and down the highway but we haven't found any shortcomings," Sgt Francis said.

"Our cameras are doing a very good job. If I had to give them a mark out of 10, I would give them an eight."

Liberty Victoria president Michael Pearce said he had no objection to cameras but his gripe was that information was being misused, including embarrassing people for actions that were not illegal.

"The cameras will continue to spread but we need to ensure that people's rights are protected," Mr Pearce said.

Victims of Crime Association president Noel McNamara said cameras were an invaluable tool to nab crooks