Local people are being invited to view CCTV in action for themselves, two years after the camera system went live in Newtownards.
To mark the second anniversary of the six cameras becoming operational in the town centre, and to highlight the success of the initiative, a mobile CCTV system will take up position in Conway Square on Friday, September 18, to allow local people to see at first hand the type and quality of image which the cameras produce — and to find out how effective CCTV has been for Newtownards.
A recent analysis of crime incident figures for the town centre showed the number of crimes fell by 19 percent in total when comparing 2006 and 2008. There was also significant reductions in theft from vehicles, which dropped by 59 percent, theft of vehicles, which saw a 33 percent reduction, and youths causing annoyance, which decreased by 41 percent.
In a survey to establish if local traders felt they had benefited from the introduction of the system, 83 percent of respondents stated their support for CCTV and 42 percent believed the cameras had proved effective in reducing crime.
The CCTV system is funded by Ards Borough Council and according to Councillor David Smyth, who is also chairman of the Ards Community Safety Partnership, the cameras have had a deterrent and reassuring effect.
“The statistics and the surveys show that
crime in the town centre is moving in the right direction and while it remains difficult to make a direct connection between the cameras and the drop in incidents, two years’ worth of evidence certainly suggest that CCTV is acting as a deterrent,” said Councillor Smyth.
“Equally important is the fact that the cameras offer a level of reassurance to those who work in Newtownards and they feel safer as a result.”
Members of the police and the council’s Ards Anti-Social Behaviour Team will be on hand to answer questions and give advice during the event.
Ards Borough Council funds the operational costs of the system of approximately £30,000 each year.