New watchful eye over Queenstown

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Downtown Queenstown is under the watchful CCTV eye just in time for the opening of Winter Festival tonight. 

Senior constable Sean Drader says he hopes the town feels a degree safer with the new $150,000 surveillance system. 

Ten cameras, which are placed in various crime hotspots in the CBD, will play a vital role in assisting police with investigations. 

“It means we will be far more successful with identifying people in detail especially compared to other communities – you can’t do this in the big cities.” 

“We did a lot of research as to where we are going to put them and some people will scratch their heads and might not think they are in the best place,” Drader says. 

The high definition images will be transmitted up to Skyline through a wireless system as radio signals. 

Those signals will be beamed and back down to Queenstown police station for 24-hour surveillance in a multi-screen control room. 

The cameras are set up on power poles and council buildings. 

It will predominantly help with dishonesty crimes such as theft and stolen cars, but Drader hopes it will help decrease the number of violent attacks as well. 

“This is the beginning of the system and I hope the community is going to find it really useful and it’ll be expanded on in years to come.” 

Drader hopes in the near future the police station will be able to monitor local business security cameras in the control room too. 

“There are groups of businesses in the past that have come forward and said ‘We feel like we can benefit from it’ and I hope that will be something that happens,” he says. 

The council have offered to go the extra mile and are funding the on-going electricity bill for the system, Drader says. 

Council community services general manager Paul Wilson says it’s great the installation plan and budget has run well and is ready for Winter Festival. 

“A lot of people have worked hard for a long time on the project, so everyone is very satisfied.”