Busselton City Council has backed new plans to prepare a safety and security strategy for the Busselton and Dunsborough central business districts.
The proposal was introduced by Mayor Ian Stubbs as an amendment to Deputy Mayor Tom Tuffin’s alternative motion to progress a closed circuit television strategy for Mitchell Park.
At its meeting on Wednesday, the council endorsed both the alternative motion and amendment, a shift from the officers’ report which recommended the system be removed due to a lack of evidence on the impact on anti-social behaviour at the park.
Councillor Tuffin told elected members the City was facing an increase in the nature and rate of crime as it continued to grow and it was vital to maintain the region’s good reputation as a relatively crimefree zone.
He said CCTV has been proved globally as an effective pre-emptive measure and expressed doubt about the trial which had numerous issues.
“I don’t think we should base the future of CCTV in the City on this trial,” he said.
Mayor Ian Stubbs said he was in favour of Cr Tuffin’s motion, but proposed to include funds in the 2013-14 budget for the preparation of a overarching strategy before any CCTV system was installed.
Cr John McCallum said a recent visit to the leavers zone, where police extensively used CCTV, had shown him the merits of the system, which he believed should form the backbone of a crime prevention strategy.
Cr Grant Henley said while he acknowledged the City was experiencing an increase in crime rates, he did not believe CCTV would be an immediate action tool in a “city of our size”.
He said petitioning for increased police resources, including a 24-hour station, would prove the best deterrent, and expressed support for the establishment of a working group into a detailed crime and anti-social prevention strategy.
Busselton Senior Sergeant Steve Principe told the Times he was supportive of a strategy and would be interested in working with the City.
CCTV was a proven tool in helping to fight crime, both as a visual deterrent and in identifying offenders, he said.
Sen. Sgt Principe said he would be interested in the introduction of other security measures including improved lighting in the CBD and light industrial areas and the introduction of private security patrols.