The ongoing issue of CCTV in Dean Street is set to be discussed by council in May, despite already having discovered that the available funding will provide barely six or seven cameras and provide nothing at all for ongoing costs.
This may lead to private sponsorship being sought for the project.
The announcement comes as three Albury pubs have made a list of the 100 most violent drinking establishments in NSW. The Bended Elbow, the Roi bar and the now defunct “three legged dog” all made the roll of shame based on the number of assaults which occurred on the premises.
Council members have already visited Sydney and Brisbane to observe their CCTV which has confirmed that the system does little or nothing to reduce alcohol fuelled violence which constitutes the majority of issues of concern in Dean Street.
Chair of the CCTV committee Cr. Amanda Duncan-Strelec said “We could install cameras but I don’t think the ratepayers should be paying for the monitoring as law and order is a state government responsibility”.
Well it’s refreshing I guess to see buck passing between local and state governments rather than just state and federal.
“Clubs and pubs could possibly be sponsors and the Roads and Traffic Authority might sponsor cameras for bridges” Cr Duncan-Strelec said.
“Possibly”, that’s a bit rich, personally I think the jury is still out as to whether we NEED CCTV in Dean Street, however, for the sake of debate, let’s assume that in light of incidents such as occurred in Griffith recently with a young man being bashed to death in a random violence attack in the main street, that there IS a need for them.
Firstly it’s unlikely to do ANYTHING to curb alcohol fuelled violence in the first instance, but it may well assist with identifying offenders and securing convictions. Obviously a good move in terms of statistical crime resolution, hardly a quantum leap in crime prevention however.
If there IS a need for this technology, the money should come from the licence fees of the establishments which are fuelling this violence by providing the means for people to become intoxicated and engage in this subsequent anti-social behaviour.
I have grave concerns about privately run CCTV monitoring public property, mostly I just think it’s a recipe for disaster, private operators tend to care about their own property and profit margins, public safety doesn’t even register on the radar until it hits them in the hip pocket.
So who IS responsible for public safety? Obviously council doesn’t see it as their role, is it the role of the purveyors of alcohol? I’d have to say on form, it’s less than encouraging that they take this responsibility seriously until they have no other choice.
Is it the responsibility of state governments? or the police? Given state governments track record on health and education I’d have serious reservations about assigning responsibility there.
Police shortages have been the subject of considerable press of late, it may be that is an unrealistic option also.
Would we in fact be better off building some of these in Dean Street?
I doubt it somehow. I tend to think it’s less about law and order and crime prevention than it is about public health.
Clubs and pubs make an absolute mint out of purveying intoxicants, running poker machines on the side and except for the occasional self promoting sponsorship arrangement (usually of some sporting club or other), invariably more about promoting their “good bloke” image in the community than about redressing any of the myriad social problems they either directly cause or contribute to.
When was the last time you heard of a pub or club contributing to an alcohol rehabilitation facility, domestic violence service or problem gambling organisation? They’d rather promote themselves as “sporty” with all the connotations of youthful vigour, fair play and physical prowess, make no mistake it is a carefully orchestrated and cynical marketing ploy.
Licensed establishments frankly give less than they take, with a carefully rehearsed, spin-doctored, rhetorical spiel we get from the hotelier’s association every time problem drinking or problem gambling is raised in the media, we are apparently supposed to feel grateful for the “service” they provide.
We have a drinking culture, complete with tailor made drinks aimed squarely at recruiting young drinkers, an automotive industry which emphasises speed, power and sex appeal in promoting it’s products and a comparative pittance spent trying to convince people that the two don’t mix.
Then we stand back and gape in slack-jawed astonishment that our young people are being killed on the roads, developing drinking problems, smoking, taking drugs and falling prey to the social and health problems associated with these things.
There are bigger players in this game than the Albury council and until as a community we decide we are going to free ourselves from the influence of these powerful, cashed up lobby groups, we are going to find ourselves under the negative influence of the dangerous products they peddle.