Council camera call

Cr Gautam Gupta is calling for CCTV cameras throughout Wyndham and more police resources. 118410 Picture: DAMJAN JANEVSKI

By XAVIER SMERDON

A WYNDHAM Councillor has broken ranks by calling for his colleagues to approve the installation of security cameras around crime hot spots throughout Wyndham.
Cr Gautam Gupta said he decided to make a public call for more CCTV cameras and police resources after his house was broken into earlier this month.
At around midnight on Saturday 5 April while celebrating his daughter’s birthday with family and friends, his wife heard a noise coming from another room in their house.
It was discovered that an unknown man had broken into the house by jumping Cr Gupta’s back fence and entering through an unlocked door.
He was not wearing any clothes at the time and performed a lewd act before fleeing the scene.
Cr Gupta told Star the incident had traumatised his family and made them feel unsafe in their own home.
“You never know how vulnerable a family can become until after an incident like this,” Cr Gupta said.
“The older child is especially traumatised. All she knows is that there was a monster in the house.”
Cr Gupta said after reporting the incident to police he was convinced that Wyndham needed more crime fighting assets.
“I was really almost offended when I saw the computer systems that our police are forced to use,” he said.
“How can we expect them to keep our City crime free when they have to use such old systems.”
He said he had been informed that CCTV cameras could help reduce crime in the municipality.
Wyndham Council has previously confirmed to Star that it had chosen not to apply for funding grants for cameras at Werribee Train Station because of the ongoing costs and maintenance.
Cr Gupta said he did not think this was an acceptable attitude.
“There is no excuse to not install cameras. Money cannot be a criteria for safety,” he said.
“My mission now is to convince my fellow councillors to install more security cameras around Wyndham. I will make sure this issue is revisited by the council.”
But Wyndham Council CEO Kerry Thompson said last week that if the council did install cameras she would expect that the State Government would contribute to the “significant” costs associated with their purchase, installation and the ongoing monitoring and maintenance.
“There has been no request made to Wyndham City for CCTV in public places, however if a request was made, we would consider this in conjunction with our safety policies, annual budget initiatives and with relevant parties including Victoria Police,” Ms Thompson said.
But Wyndham’s top police officer Inspector Damien Christensen said a safety audit of the Werribee and Hoppers Crossing stations had not been done since April 2012, but that crime in Wyndham was on the way down.
He also said that Wyndham was in line to receive 11 more police, including three sergeants, over the next 12 months, to add to the 102 current police officers.
“We do a good job here managing what we need. We get the staff we need in the right areas,” he said.
“People making suggestions without doing their homework are just scaremongering in the community.
“Just because you might not see us walking around Watton St every day doesn’t mean we’re not out there doing a good job.
“Our number one priority at the moment is family violence. Street assaults are way down the list because they just don’t occur that much.”

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