A major CCTV camera rollout for Dargaville begins in January in a joint initiative between the Dargaville Community Development Board and the police, working closely with the Dargaville Business Forum.
“Initially, 28 cameras will cover the central business district in stage one of this project, with the cost of over $60,000 financed by grants we have obtained,” said development board chair Allan Mortensen. “The cost when this was first proposed in 2009 was closer to $160,000, and the decision to install the system now follows the success of a similar CCTV initiative in Kaitaia. It’s a shame we have to do this but if we don’t, with every other town in Northland either having CCTV or getting it, we will find that society’s socially challenged will find our town an attractive place to live.”
The cameras will be connected to Dargaville Police station in real time, and constantly monitored by a paid observer supported by 12 volunteers from the community.
“Thus we will be looking for people to come forward to assist with monitoring the system,” said Mr Mortensen.
The project is being coordinated by constable Reuben Cohen from Dargaville police.
“Following the installation of CCTV in Kaitaia in 2015, we did a detailed crime review of Dargaville and found the highest concentration is in the CBD along the full length of Victoria and Normanby Streets,” he said.
“We also identified 12 high profile camera locations. We have called this the CCTV Community Project, and look forward to stage two in which we would invite business owners with pre-existing CCTV cameras to join the coverage, if not initially, then when they upgrade to become compatible with the system.”
Its understood business cameras will initially be recorded at the police CCTV facility for instant access, in the event of an incident.
Dargaville joins communities throughout New Zealand in getting CCTV surveillance, with thousands of cameras watching over towns and cities.
Strict regulations govern privacy, and police policy states that the objective of installing the cameras is to reduce the incidence of crime and disorder so members of the community feel safe when visiting the public areas covered by the cameras.
This policy applies to crime prevention cameras installed at fixed sites in public places for a general crime prevention purpose and operated in conjunction with police. It also applies to significant expansions of existing crime prevention camera systems and to trials of new systems.
Crime prevention cameras are not used to maintain surveillance on individuals or groups — they are to prevent and detect criminal offences in identified high crime areas. Cameras are used for the deterrence or immediate detection of criminal offences and must be operated in a manner that complies with the Privacy Act 1993.