Volume 94, Issue 91

Wednesday, March 14, 2001


NEWS

Student fees are on the rise

Western awarded for language

City may install cameras this summer

New bill to target pimps and johns

Harassment still a big problem: report

Briefs

His Royal Mintiness

City may install cameras this summer

By Tait Simpson
Gazette Staff

Sixteen downtown surveillance cameras may be in place by this summer to keep an eye on the citizens of London, if a proposal is passed by London City Council next week.

City council is committed to implementing cameras at selected sites in downtown London, despite the fact that the use of surveillance cameras as a crime deterrent has been met with mixed results around North America, said Gary Williams, the chairman of City Council's community and protective services committee, which endorsed the proposal earlier this week.

"We're hoping that the presence of these cameras will make people think twice about committing a crime," he said, adding the issue is scheduled to come before council next Monday.

The London cameras were purchased with the $232,000 raised by supporters of Michael Goldie-Ryder, a young man who was stabbed to death in downtown London in 1999, Williams said.

"Statistically, the downtown core is just as safe as any neighborhood, but we are trying to improve the perception of personal safety downtown by using these cameras," said Const. Ryan Holland, media-relations officer for the London Police.

Crime rates in London, as well as the rest of Canada, have been declining over the last 10 years, but police are hoping to further lower the rates through the use of surveillance cameras, he explained.

The London Police will be able to dispatch officers to crimes in progress which have been witnessed by one of the 16 cameras, he said. He added the vendor of the cameras has already been selected, but it is still unclear who will be watching all 16 cameras, 24 hours a day.

The presence of the cameras will not be reinforced with notification signs advertising their placement, as is the case in Sudbury, another municipality with a camera system in place, he explained.

Police are hoping media exposure of high profile crimes, as well as the publicity generated by the cameras' unveiling in the early summer, will be sufficient to make the public aware someone will be watching, Holland said.

According to Ward 1 city councillor Sandy Levin, the London cameras, whose tapes may be used as criminal evidence, are planned to be in place for two years before being evaluated on the basis of whether crime rates have declined since their inception.

Four external cameras are already in place on Western's campus, said Const. Wendy McGowan, of the University Police Department.

"Cameras are extremely useful. We need to be able to use technology to help compensate for less staff and ensure a safe community," she said.


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