Big Brother called in to keep an eye on soaring crime at Surfers Paradise

Published: 21 April 2017

cctv

It’s the double edged sword of modern life. The trade of privacy for safety.

Surfers Paradise is the latest area to transform its central district, installing a raft of new cameras in the lead up to next year’s Commonwealth Games.

Gold Coast Liberal MP Steve Ciobo has announced new funding to boost to community safety and deter crime, which will include $100,000 for five new mobile CCTV cameras.

“As we all know, CCTV and security infrastructure has been a pivotal factor in both solving crimes and preventing crimes,” Mr Ciobo said.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen a spike in crime statistics and anti-social behaviour across the Gold Coast,” he said, saying “the State Labor Government’s soft-on-crime approach” was to blame.

The move comes amid reports of soaring crime rates and police budget cuts across the region.

But Assistant Police Commissioner Brian Codd has slammed reports of police funding cuts as false.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reported the budget for 10 police divisions for 2016-2017 is collectively down more than a million dollars, compared with the previous year, despite escalating crime.

“There are substantial cuts across the board,” a police source told The Gold Coast Bulletin. “At the end of the day’s play, we have to make the cuts from somewhere. The biggest thing you cut is overtime.”

The source went on to say officers can be reluctant to take jobs near the end of their shifts to avoid potential overtime.

But Asst Comm Codd said the numbers used in the report were based off of predicted estimates, and no actual cuts have been made.

The rising crime rate, however, continues to worry authorities.

In December, the Gold Coast recorded a 66 percent increase in assaults, and a 28.5 percent overall crime rate increase.

Mr Ciobo says boosting the Safer Communities Fund, a “grassroots-level” community grant programme, will help combat crime and support crime prevention initiatives.

Under the program, local councils and community organisations will receive funding to install fixed and mobile CCTV or lighting, Justice Minister Michael Keenan said.

The five new mobile cameras will be moved around to Gold Coast crime hotspots – one will initially be placed at Glayds Moncrief Park in Bundall, the site of the 2015 stabbing murder of Michael Brack, when an apparent drug deal went wrong. 

Mr Keenen said the Coalition Government recognises “that the best way to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour is to prevent it from happening.

“Our top priority will always be to keep our citizens and our communities safe.”