Morwell camera upgrade

The installation of four new CCTV cameras in Morwell’s central business district has been recommended as part of an independent review into community safety concerns in the town.

The study was initiated by Latrobe City Council following discussions between councillors and Victoria Police and taking into account feedback provided at two police community safety forums in May this year.

The findings will be tabled at a council meeting next month and will be used to inform council’s role in improving actual and perceived community safety within Morwell’s central business district.

Latrobe City councillor Alan McFarlane said the study emanated from traders’ concerns raised over a lack of CCTV infrastructure following an assault in Morwell earlier this year.

“Our understanding at the moment is there’s CCTV cameras near the subway and around the railway station but that’s about it at the moment,” Cr McFarlane said.

“Both traders and the community are concerned for their safety and we hope these cameras, placed in strategic spots, will go some way to making people feel a little more secure in themselves.”

While the report does not list specific locations for the cameras, Latrobe City Council said the report recommended four CCTV cameras should be installed across the Morwell CBD, but further analysis of the area would be required in order to identify suitable locations in Victoria Police priority areas.

Latrobe Inspector Rob Wallace said police had been working with council over the implementation of additional CCTV cameras in Morwell for some time now.

“There are some concerns of general safety within the Morwell CBD,” Insp Wallace said.

“It’s been a combination of some business owners and the community who are saying they are not feeling safe when they’re walking around the town.

“(These cameras will) provide some reassurance to the community, and people who are perhaps contemplating committing a crime will know that they are being observed by the CCTV system.”

Insp Wallace said police had also recently increased foot patrols in an effort to improve the feeling of community safety, ultimately complementing the mobile vehicle patrols.

“People should feel comfortable with the knowledge that there are (existing) cameras around and that they will deter people from committing crimes or behaving badly in these kinds of areas,” he said.

The feasibility study was conducted over a two-week period on last month where benchmarking of other councils and analysis of crime and social demographic data was undertaken.

Latrobe City acting general manager community services Jodie Pitkin said the study assessed a range of ways to enhance community safety, using the principles of the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

The design maximises the risk to offenders and the effort required to commit a crime.

Ms Pitkin confirmed there was four CCTV cameras in the vicinity of the Commercial Road bus exchange managed by Latrobe City Council and Victoria Police.

“There are also a number of fixed CCTV cameras in and around the Morwell Railway Station under the control of Public Transport Victoria,” she said.

A report on the feasibility study will go to council on Monday, 11 September where a decision will be made to seek funding for the infrastructure from the state government.