Police pleased with results from CCTV

Senior Constable Sean Drader, of  Queenstown,   with  the  CCTV system  he says is     preventing...
Senior Constable Sean Drader, of Queenstown, with the CCTV system he says is preventing and detecting crime in the resort. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
Queenstown's new digital closed circuit television camera system is preventing crime and helping detect offenders, resort police say.

After teething problems involving interruptions to wireless connections in town were ironed out, the $150,000 CCTV system had helped officers detect and identify certain crimes, Senior Constable Sean Drader said.

The system has been in use for more than two weeks and police are pleased with its contribution.

"It's been going really good - it's excellent quality and it's a modern tool we've been missing for some time," he said.

Snr Const Drader said it was difficult to measure whether central-city crime had decreased since the cameras were installed because crime in Queenstown varied from week to week.

The cameras would not necessarily keep Queenstown's crime rate down, he added, because police were detecting more crime by using them.

Many crimes had either been detected through the cameras or the footage was used after the fact to identify suspects and follow their moves through the resort.

Most of the crimes caught on camera were committed late at night or early in the morning and often at weekends.

They included alcohol-fuelled crimes, assaults, graffiti, urination in public and theft.

He disagreed with criticism about the locations of the cameras and that they would not prevent or lower crime in Queenstown because crime in Queenstown was not in fixed spots.

He hoped the 12 central-city cameras would be joined by more cameras at a later date as funding allowed.

The cameras were funded by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Snr Const Drader said Queenstown had a high rate of alcohol-related crime and suggested the cameras placed throughout town were a step in the right direction to lowering that.

He said there was research to show CCTV footage prevented theft and dishonesty crimes "because if they know there is a camera there, they'll choose not to do it".

"The more we can get the better.

"What we've got is great, the quality is excellent and we are hoping to expand over time."

He said the cameras were operated on a needs-must basis, but police staff trained to keep watch on inmates had also been trained to detect crime on the cameras when they were at the station.

The eventual goal was to have a full-time operator on the cameras.

"The officers have all been really interested in them [the cameras].

"They are better quality to the ones we had often used in bars around town and they are in the places where we want them.

"Almost every night there will be times when we use them."

The encrypted digital cameras transmit data to a receiver at the top of Ben Lomond near the Skyline building, which then sends the pictures to the Queenstown police station.

Two of the cameras can be tilted, panned and zoomed.

In the 1990s, analogue cameras were installed in central areas but the cost of maintenance meant they eventually fell into disrepair and stopped working.



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