28 April 2023

Community organisation reflects on campaign to install cameras for safety, security several years on

| Claire Sams
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Committee 4 Wagga CEO Scott Sanbrook (R) with Secretary Sam Beresford

Committee 4 Wagga CEO Scott Sanbrook (right) with secretary Sam Beresford. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

The CCTV cameras in Wagga Wagga’s CBD are an accepted sight now, but the campaign to install them involved a lot of people pitching in.

For Committee 4 Wagga’s CEO Scott Sanbrook, the camera’s impact as one of the organisation’s legacy projects is still clear, even though more than five years have passed since their installation.

“That means that it’s a project which we worked very hard on that would continue to benefit the community for many years to come,” he said.

Helping to organise and oversee the campaign at the time was the then-CEO, Chris Fitzpatrick.

The committee worked with a range of stakeholders for the project, including NSW Police, Wagga Wagga businesses, state and local governments and Wagga Wagga City Council, who also helped them raise the money needed to cover their installation.

This let them cover the cost of installing cameras in the main street of the CBD, as well as some of the nearby cross streets.

A major goal behind the campaign was to help make residents of and visitors to Wagga Wagga feel secure while in the CBD.

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“Whilst you need housing, law and order, education and health, you also need for your local citizens to feel safe, to feel healthy, in their city,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“That, probably, was one thing that was lacking at the time, which was a feeling of safety in the CBD.”

Mr Sanbrook said the cameras had had an impact since their installation.

“I suppose there’s been a lot of media coverage since their installation and, no doubt, their presence has not only helped bring those doing the wrong thing to justice, but it’s also been a preventative measure as well,” he said.

“Because people know they’re there, it does cut down the number of people offending, or deter offending.”

A NSW Police spokesperson said police could access the footage from the cameras when it formed part of a relevant investigation.

“It is recognised that CCTV can be an effective crime prevention program when it is part of a broader crime prevention and community safety strategy,” the spokesperson said.

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“CCTV can provide crucial evidence that may assist in identifying an alleged offender or victim, as well as helping police to piece together an incident in a public area.”

A key element of the CCTV camera project, and Committee 4 Wagga’s wider approach, was improving community safety and security, Mr Sanbrook said.

“The mission is to make Wagga Australia’s most liveable regional city, and if people don’t feel safe in their own hometown, we’ve not achieved our goals,” he said.

Thinking back, Mr Fitzpatrick said he was pleased of the role he and his team played in bringing everyone to the table.

“We didn’t just talk about it – we just didn’t have meetings and meetings, and talk and talk,” he said.

“We actually got it together and got all the players together to make it happen, so that it was a good result.”

The CCTV program stood alongside other legacy projects of a flood levee, creation of the Wagga Live event now held annually on New Year’s Eve and the Lights 4 Lake project, which have all had clear impacts on the community, Mr Sanbrook said.

“We’re very proud of what we have achieved with our legacy projects!”


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