Cameras can cut city mischief
By SALLY GORDON
GRAFTON crime crusader Gordon Smith is inexorable ? street cameras are an effective tool to help combat inner-city crime.
The Grafton businessman has been quick to respond to recent criticism levelled against surveillance cameras by Clarence Valley Council candidate Terry Flanagan.
Mr Flanagan downgraded the usefulness of street cameras at a Yamba Chamber of Commerce meeting last week by highlighting their susceptibility to vandalism.
Over the past 12 months Mr Smith, who also is running for election, has been researching the impact of cameras, installed to combat crime around the State.
In defending the crime prevention strategy, Mr Smith pointed to six-week-old statis- tics compiled and supplied by Dubbo City Council.
The figures reveal a steep decline in the number of street and other offences after the 2002 installation of 11 street cameras in the city's CBD.
"They're pretty impressive results," Mr Smith said.
"There hasn't been one city that I've contacted that hasn't given me a positive result on cameras," he said.
Mr Smith believed Mr Flana- gan's reproach was an unfounded political shot.
He said, however, the issue should not be blown out of proportion to discredit or disadvantage Mr Flanagan in the lead-up to the election.
In fact, Mr Smith said Mr Flanagan would even be getting a vote from him.
"Terry must have believed it was a two-horse race and forgot he was in local politics," Mr Smith said.