RYE’S shopping strip will soon be equipped with closed-circuit TV cameras after years of trader campaigning for increased security measures in the township, which intensified after the death of a young man punched in a brawl on 31 December 2012.
The $48,000, two-year deal will see traders installing CCTV cameras in and outside their premises for both street and shop security. Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors voted for the scheme at their 9 June meeting after an effort by some councillors to delay the initiative.
The shire will provide a maximum 50 per cent rebate to traders who install cameras, which will be privately owned. The funds will support about 30 systems, with footage to be made available to police and the shire.
The money will be allocated through Rye Beach Business Association, which The News reported on April 27 was being encouraged to have traders install CCTV after failed promises by the shire and state government.
After years of trouble in the area, including the death, more than 2000 people signed a petition in March 2013 calling on the shire to install surveillance cameras in Rye, citing the “ongoing violence and vandalism in this area for many years” and the deterrent effect of CCTV.
Encouragement for the move came from Nepean Ward councillors Tim Rodgers and Hugh Fraser. Cr Rodgers said many Sorrento traders had installed CCTV, which had made the town’s main street safer.
Nepean MP Martin Dixon and the state Opposition’s community safety spokesman, Edward O’Donohue, visited Rye recently with Caterina Politi, the mother of 22-year-old David Cassai, who died after a New Year’s Eve 2012 brawl.
Mr Dixon and Mr O’Donohue used the visit to call on the Labor government to fund CCTV cameras for Rye’s shopping precinct, something that was promised by the Coalition during the election campaign last year.
If it had won, the Coalition would have given the shire council $250,000 for Rye cameras.
The new privately owned and maintained cameras will be a strong deterrent to street vandalism and violence as well as shop security, councillors were told, and could reduce costs to the shire of damage and graffiti in the area under surveillance.
While the system will not be connected to a central monitoring facility, “it is considered that private systems represent a good cost-effective compromise”, officers told councillors.