City News

Will increased CCTV save King’s Cross?

Last weekend’s shooting in KIng’s Cross involving aboriginal youth provided another instance of conflict in the area.

The notorious night life precinct has been the setting for a number of incidents resulting in injury and arrest.

On April 12, after an argument with a group at a Bayswater Rd fast-food restaurant, two women were followed and one was assaulted. The 27-yearold woman suffered a broken leg and three women were arrested at the scene.

This came just days after a 29-year-old man was shot in the shoulder at Bada Bing stripclub on Darlinghurst Rd.

The events raised questions over whether enough is being done by the council to protect people living or visiting The Cross.

Lucas Crabtree has been living in the area for about a decade.

As president of the 2011 Residents Association, he voiced concerns about the community’s safety.

“Based on increases in violence, it seems not enough is being done. We would like to see a wholistic approach for crime prevention in The Cross,” he said.

In the past month, the City of Sydney council approved an application for increased CCTV in King’s Cross.

Before the approval, there were only three cameras providing limited coverage of Springfield Plaza and Bayswater Rd.

Following appeals by NSW Police to help with increased crime rates in the area, an additional six cameras will be added.

Upgrades to existing cameras have also been approved to improve reliability, control and coverage.

The application was passed by council only after they consulted with relevant interest groups, as outlined by the Street Safety Camera Programs Protocol.

Over 900 residents and businesses were contacted via direct mail and meetings community groups to discuss surveillance.

While residents have welcomed this, questions remain on how effective an additional six cameras will prove to be.

“We’re supportive of the extra CCTVs, but it’s not the be all. It’s not the solution of all crime issues and it remains to be seen if this strategy alone is successful in reducing crime,” Mr Crabtree said.

The degree to which crime is reduced depends on how much access the police will have to the CCTV footage.

Detective Inspector Paul McDonald said: “The council policy is that they only release footage to us for certain offences and not for minor offences.”

By Punam Vyas