Byron targeted for crime prevention

AN iconic strip in Byron Bay is a whirlwind of fun-loving backpackers, cashed up tourists and talented buskers by day but by night, alcohol-related crime taints Jonson St.

As a result, the Tweed Byron Local Area Command (LAC) and Byron Shire Council have proposed joining forces to combat the problem by installing CCTV cameras in the Byron Bay CBD.

Between January and October this year, there were 120 assaults in Jonson St alone.

Tweed Byron LAC crime manager Detective Acting Inspector Saul Wiseman said offending on that one street was a significant component of the command's alcohol-related crime.

Police were committed to addressing the problem so people could enjoy a night out in Byron Bay, he said.

"Some people have concerns with surveillance in their town but we need to look at what other areas are doing," he said.

"It is having a positive impact and creating a safer environment for people to have a good time.

"CCTV cameras assist in apprehending offenders, intervening in assaults before they escalate, prosecuting offenders and deterrence," Insp Wiseman said.

Like any entertainment precinct, Insp Wiseman explained, some security guards who "may or may not be a contributing factor to a problem" know where current security cameras are and could simply take a "step to the right".

A CCTV installation may help counter this problem.

Last year, Byron Shire Council said there was no funding to install a CCTV system in the CBD.

However, the potential security installation has re-emerged in the council's Crime Prevention Strategy it is currently preparing.

"As part of the draft strategy, a safety audit recommends 12 additional CCTV sites for the Byron Bay town centre," Byron Shire Council acting community services manager Greg Ironfield said.

Mr Ironfield said following the adoption of the strategy, funding for any CCTV installation and ongoing operational costs would need to be considered.

Byron United president Paul Waters said the business community would support whatever it took to get CCTV cameras in the Byron CBD.

CCTV cameras assist in apprehending offenders, intervening in assaults before they escalate, prosecuting offenders and deterrence.



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