Attack victim’s father calls for cameras

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The father of an Arrowtowner seriously bashed in Queenstown last weekend is calling for surveillance cameras to be urgently installed in the CBD.

Muso Sam Ross, 31, had his jaw broken in two places in an allegedly unprovoked attack by four Invercargill youths near the Rees Street/Beach St corner about 2am last Saturday.

Ross is recovering in Dunedin Hospital from surgery and he’s also being checked for possible brain damage.

Sam’s father Tony says his phone’s run red-hot with friends of his son, himself and his wife and business acquaintances raising the issue of security cameras.

“You wouldn’t believe it, the groundswell is huge,” he says.

The Queenstown CBD was covered by security cameras in the 90s, after a fundraising campaign run by the local Chamber of Commerce, however the system has fallen into disrepair.

“We need to get into the real world – most cities in the world have cameras now, don’t they?” Tony says.

He notes just about every second business in town, be it a petrol station, supermarket or bar, has an internal surveillance system.

Tony is in no doubt street cameras will help police catch offenders: “If we can get these [offenders] without huge cost to the police through witnesses who all have 20 million different stories, it means the police should actually have more time to look after the place.”

On busy nights police could also monitor hotspots and deploy patrols wherever trouble was brewing, he suggests.
Cameras could also act as a deterrent, Tony adds.

“Queenstown’s a party town, and there’s no getting away from that – it’s part of the attraction of the place – so what we have to do is control that situation.

“From what I hear and read, we’re going to have a huge ski season, full of young overseas people – that will make the situation worse.”