Surveillance cameras should be installed around White Rock's pier and promenade for the safety of residents

White Rock eyes waterfront cameras

Public safety cited by Campbell: ‘Things are going on down there we’re really not aware of’

Surveillance cameras may soon be keeping a watch over White Rock’s pier, promenade and surrounding area.

Council is expected to discuss the idea at its next meeting (June 25), following a notice of motion calling for the equipment announced Monday by Coun. Al Campbell.

Noting the protection of public safety is one of the city’s corporate priorities for 2012-’14, Campbell said he wants options explored for the installation of a system that can be used both as a deterrent and “to gather information to assist in preserving safety and possible video feed of what’s happening in that area.”

Tuesday, he told Peace Arch News it’s only a matter of time before something happens where such footage would be invaluable.

“I really believe that here, our pier and promenade… a lot of things are going on down there we’re really not aware of.

“(Something) will happen one day, and we’ve got to be prepared for something like that.”

In addition to helping enforce the city’s laws, such a system could be used by people simply interested in checking out what’s going on at the beach at any particular moment, he said.

The City of Surrey began using closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) in 2009, to combat auto crime in the Scott Road Skytrain parking lot.

A Surrey staff report last year showed the cameras had decreased the incidence of auto theft at the lot by 15 per cent in 2010. At the same time, victimization surveys noted jumps in the belief that crime was decreasing.

Campbell said Canada is one of few places in the world where the cameras are not commonplace. They were first introduced in England – where Campbell worked as a police officer – in the ’70s and ’80s, he said, and have served to both reduce the drain on police resources and help catch criminals.

“We have so much going on in Canada, nobody gets caught,” he said. “They don’t have (missing boy) Michael Dunahees in England – put it like that.”

Security cameras installed throughout a Washington State community Campbell spends time at make people feel “very, very secure,” he added.

Campbell said it is “high time” White Rock installed such a surveillance system.

“I think it’s the right thing to do and it’s time,” he said.

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