Crime prevention group keen to increase security camera coverage

9:13 pm on 15 June 2021

A crime prevention trust in Gisborne aims to double its vision over the next decade through more security cameras across the region.

Gisborne Crime Prevention Camera Trust logistics coordinator Ken Huberts at Gisborne police station.

Gisborne Crime Prevention Camera Trust logistics coordinator Ken Huberts at Gisborne police station. Photo: Paul Rickard / Gisborne Herald / LDR

The volunteer-run Gisborne Crime Prevention Camera Trust wants to increase the number of cameras from 28 to 58 over the next 10 years, with plans to install cameras in some East Coast townships next year.

Trust logistics coordinator Ken Huberts said each township could potentially have one or two security cameras to cover police's "areas of interest".

The cameras would need to be backed by the community, and have a reasonable funding stream, he said.

"The [police] wishlist is not insignificant, but our job is to prioritise and work within our budget to cover those key areas," Huberts said.

The trust's cameras operate from Gisborne police station, and volunteers play a preventative role by watching for action on Friday and Saturday nights.

"Their role is to be proactive, to look for things before they happen," Huberts said.

An accident caught on one of the cameras.

An accident caught on one of the cameras. Photo: Supplied

Police also have access to the footage and regularly use it to aid investigations or as evidence in prosecutions.

The cameras record 24/7 and the footage is stored for 30 days.

At Gisborne District Council's Long Term Plan hearings last month, the trust showed footage captured on its network including firearms violations, vandalism, breaches of the liquor ban, illegal entry and public urination.

Presenting to councillors on 13 May, Tairāwhiti area commander inspector Sam Aberahama said he believed the cameras had contributed to making Gisborne a safer place.

"Several years ago, we had some real issues going on in our CBD, so much that I actually presented to the council about what was going on around the violence and the crime.

"The cameras have been a really big part of the evolution in taking us forward.

"That breach of liquor ban ends up being an assault, ends up being a burglary, ends up being a whole lot of stuff… I think we've come a long way. I truly believe we walk the streets at night and have meals and watch movies, and I hope we feel a whole lot safer in our community and I'm sure we do than in the past."

Aberahama spoke of one image that helped police locate imitation firearms, methamphetamine glass pipes, scales and butcher knives in a vehicle.

"Goodness knows what was about to happen, either in the CBD or in someone's home, but we had some eyes on it and dealt with that."

The trust last month asked the council to increase its funding from $32,000 to $45,000 to cover rising operational costs.

Councillors agreed to up their camera contribution.

According to the trust, a camera costs about $5000 and has an expected life of five years.

A written submission from the trust said it would need $84,000 from the council in 2031.

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