In April this year The Age reported that, the State Government offered Melbourne City Council a $250,000 grant for installing CCTV cameras in “6 black spots’’,”.

The State Government also offered the same sum for the installation of CCTV cameras to Moreland Council, the municipality where Jill Meagher was murdered.

Initially Melbourne City Council was hesitant to accept the $250,000 funding. This is because, as Cr Richard Foster pointed out, there is allegedly no evidence that extra surveillance would enhance public safety. He also mentioned the need to maintain the devices, which would be an additional expense for the council.

Conversely Council Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has been very supportive about the proposed installation of new CCTV cameras. The Herald Sun quoted him with the following statement:

“If (Victoria) Police have said, ‘put CCTV cameras there’, then in my view, let’s do it.”

Other councilors have expressed their opinions on the matter, with some raising a motion to make a more in-depth assessment on the prospect of adding additional security surveillance cameras in the city. There were questions on how the police have identified the hot spots and the links between video monitoring and the incidence of crime.

Councilor Cathy Oke said that while she is definitely “not opposed to” security cameras, she believes that they are not the only preventive measure available. She went onto state that “there needs to be more research done into analyzing how to improve safety through other alternatives, such as lighting, before considering the installation of CCTV systems”.

However, at Moreland Council, there was little resistance to the CCTV funding offer with the majority of the councillors voting to accept the grant.

Moreland Mayor Oscar Yildiz said that although cameras may not prevent crimes from taking place, they will help authorities identify and catch offenders.

Melbourne City Council’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s stand on CCTV cameras appeared to agree with that of Moreland’s mayor. He mentioned the results of the Council’s annual audit in July last year, which showed that the 54 security surveillance cameras in the city triggered 777 police alerts and assisted with 90 of the investigations conducted by Victoria Police.

Rod Wilson, North West Metro Region superintendent, said that Victoria Police backed the Melbourne City Council’s proposal for the installation of additional cameras.

He said: “The cameras give Melbourne City Council and police the ability to monitor incidents in the CBD as well as manage crowds to and from major events.”

“The cameras further add to our capacity to police public order and assess impact on traffic and essential services in the area. This information allows more effective deployment of resources and also provides valuable evidence to investigators investigating crimes committed in the city.

“The visible presence of these cameras may also act as a deterrent to many people who seek to commit crime in the area.”

After a debate during a June Council meeting, Melbourne City councillors reached a consensus and moved to accept the State Government funding for the deployment of additional CCTV cameras.