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Upgraded Thames Security Cameras Provide Police With Eyes

Upgraded Thames Security Cameras Provide Police With Extra Eyes

New security cameras and a wireless digital recording system installed in Thames to replace four ageing cameras are providing police with greater crime-fighting potential.

The four high-resolution, pan-tilt-zoom cameras are wirelessly linked to a digital video recording system located in the Thames police station. Two other cameras located at the Kauaeranga Bridge on the south end of Thames are also linked to the recording system.

The $34,106 cost of the four new cameras and the recording system was met by the Thames Community Board.

Community Board Chair Diane Connors and Board member Mike Veal visited Thames police station for a demonstration of the cameras. They have greater range and much higher resolution than the ones they replaced.

The recording system is monitored by police at the Thames station but it can also be accessed remotely.

Community Constable Nigel Smith says the recording system has the capacity to take feeds from 32 cameras, meaning that CCTV cameras that shopkeepers have installed can also be included in the system. "The more, the better," Constable Smith says.

Constable Smith also says the two cameras at Kauaeranga Bridge would be good candidates to be upgraded to Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. These can read vehicle number plates and send police a real-time alert that a wanted vehicle has driven past the camera. These cameras have been effective in catching armed robbers and known drug runners in other parts of New Zealand and overseas.

"It's about keeping the community safe," says Ms Connors. "We'll focus on ANPR for the bridge cameras and ramping up the community patrols and bringing more cameras into the Thames system."

There is already an ANPR camera in Tairua, which was community funded, and if the Kauaeranga Bridge cameras were upgraded to ANPR, then much of the Coromandel would be covered by this technology, allowing police much greater scope to track suspects entering and leaving the Coromandel who are wanted for major crimes.

The police also have mobile ANPR cameras that they can deploy where needed.

Other communities have funded CCTV systems. The Matarangi community placed a camera at the village entrance; and the Coromandel-Colville Community Board provided funding toward new security cameras that Coromandel Town businesses and the local retirement village organised and purchased.

Constable Smith says that security cameras in general have a known deterrence effect as criminals get to know where they are and avoid these areas. They can also provide police with helpful evidence once a crime has been committed.


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