Downtown crime cameras need tweaking

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Queenstown police have highlighted minor teething troubles in the resort’s new $150,000 crime-camera network.
Senior constable Sean Drader, reporting to Queenstown Lakes District Council which installed the system in June, says five of the 12 cameras are going great. 

However, the other seven cameras could do with some tweaking, Drader’s told council community services boss Paul Wilson. 

Drader says the biggest problem is the Brecon Street camera where a tree is in its way. 

“Either the tree needs to move, or the camera.” 

The camera location in Cow Lane is also “disappointing”, Drader reports: “I’d like to move this at some stage.”
The other side of Cow Lane or even the Village Green may be better, Drader adds. 

The Marine Parade camera is installed too high and is indistinct, he says, even though street lighting is very good. 

The Earnslaw Park camera is very good during the day, but at night the faces of passers-by are overblown and unrecognisable, Drader says. 

To comply with the Privacy Act, police are handing out free stickers to downtown retailers advising the public of the crime-camera network. 

High-quality images are retrievable from the network for up to 31 days. 

Recording and monitoring is done at the Queenstown police station by up to five specially-trained personnel. 

Drader tells Mountain Scene he can’t estimate just how many times the cameras could be credited with catching criminals or alerting police to trouble. 

“But there’s always a few times every week.” 

Not every part of the CBD has coverage and Drader says he’d like to see one extra camera added to the network each year. 

Drug bust in loo 

A 22-year-old man spotted going into the toilets at downtown Queenstown’s Recreation Ground with another man has been charged with drug dealing. 

A passing patrol car saw the two Queenstowners going into the loos together at 8.50pm on Tuesday evening. 

Officers searched the men on their way out and allegedly found a quantity of cannabis. 

Senior constable Chris Blackford claims: “There was a sufficient amount to satisfy police it was for supply. They recovered the bag that had been sold and further bags were found.” 

The 22-year-old was charged with possession with intent to supply and is due to appear in Queenstown District Court next Monday. The other man was given a pre-charge warning. 

Man on knife charge 

An Arrowtown man has been charged by police after a member of the public reported seeing him brandishing a knife in public. 

Officers arrested the 36-year-old at an Arrowtown address at 11.25pm on Monday. 

“A member of the public reported seeing him displaying the knife on Bedford St in Arrowtown,” Blackford says, adding the time was about 4.30am. 

Shoe swapper bust 

A Frenchman who allegedly swapped his old shoes for a new pair at The Warehouse in Frankton has been charged with theft. 

Police allege the man made the swap and walked out without paying. 

“He left his skanky old smelly shoes behind and took a new pair,” Blackford claims. 

The 27-year-old man was arrested at 2pm on Tuesday and is due to appear in Queenstown District Court on Monday.