The security cameras that helped put Jill Meagher’s killer behind bars could be scrapped, despite public outrage.
Melbourne’s Sydney Road security system filmed Adrian Bayley as he stalked Ms Meagher, before raping and strangling the Irish-born beauty when she was less than 500m from her Brunswick home four years ago.
The CCTV was crucial to the police case against Bayley, who is now serving a minimum 40-year jail term.
However, the new City of Moreland council is considering removing the cameras, claiming the community feels no safer and crime has gone up, not down, since it was installed.
“I do feel relatively safe at the moment knowing that the cameras are there,” resident Shannon Freeman said.
“However if they were removed, I would feel quite differently about it.”
Ms Freeman works at a café on Sydney Road and lives just metres from where Jill Meagher was attacked.
She said the cameras helped convince her to remain in the area after the horrific murder sparked fear in the popular suburb.
In an admission that angered the community, Bayley was on parole when he raped and murdered Ms Meagher in September 2012.
He was found to have a criminal history dating back to 1990 when he attempted to rape a 17-year-old girl walking home from a bus stop.
Bayley served separate jail terms for the abduction and attempted rape of a hitchhiker and for rapes against five women working as prostitutes in Melbourne's St Kilda red light district.
“Just for what happened to Jill Meagher, it would be beneficial to have (the cameras) there,” another Moreland local said.
“It adds a bit of value to the street so people have a safe environment to come and dine and enjoy the street itself,” Costas Koulouris said.
Even a former Moreland Mayor said public safety would be risked if the cameras are removed.
“This is all about the Greens and the socialists using their political ideology, jeopardising that, compromising that for the safety of this community,” Oscar Yildiz said.
The current Moreland Mayor has confirmed the council will be closely monitoring how much the cameras cost to maintain, and said no decision had been made beyond the current five-year contract.
According to police figures, the CCTV vision from Sydney Road has been used as evidence in 32 criminal investigations in the first half of 2016 alone.