May start for CCTV

AS crime rates in Kiama face marginal increases, its first CCTV network is set to come online in May.

The state government has pledged $50,000 to complement Kiama Municipal Council's $80,000 input.

The $130,000 total will fund 13 CCTV cameras in Terralong Street as well as parts of Collins and Shoalhaven streets and Railway Parade.

Public Wi-Fi will also be part of the system.

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward said every crime prevention measure should be utilised.

"No-one should believe that CCTV is a silver bullet, certainly it's no replacement for police on the streets," he said.

"For minor crimes like bag snatching, assault and vandalism, which have all happened in and around the main street area, the cameras provide that extra level of safety, as well as acting as a deterrent.

"The message is clear, if you want to come to Kiama and you want to commit a crime, be it a violent act or a vandal act, you will be caught."

According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, most crime categories in the Kiama local government area remained stable with slight increases, including assaults, sexual assault, robbery with a weapon, break and enters, steal from a retail store, steal from person and fraud.

However, the number of steal from dwelling incidents in the Kiama local government area rose 25 per cent in the past year, while robbery with a firearm occurred at almost seven times the state average rate per 100,000 people.

The number of malicious damage incidents rose from 87 to 120 in the past year.

The number of steal from a motor vehicle incidents dropped almost 25 per cent in the past year from 118 incidents to 89, while indecent assaults and motor vehicle theft experienced slight decreases.

Robbery without a weapon remained unchanged.

Mr Ward said an extra 24 officers had been stationed at Lake Illawarra Local Area Command since he became the member in March 2011.

"I'll continue to fight for more resources and that's one of the reasons I fought for the CCTV cameras, so we can crack down on crime," he said.

Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said the council was delighted to receive the funds.

The successful bid to install cameras was the latest attempt after pushes during the previous council term were voted down.

Councillors at the time were concerned about the cost and deemed security should be businesses' responsibility.

Councillor Gavin McClure had also been pushing for cameras since 2006 after installing four at the taxi rank himself.

Cr Petschler said confirmation from Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis of an extra $150,000 in grant funding could allow the council to expand into other areas.

"We'll use that to enhance the system that we'll have here in town to ensure it's as high-tech and high-definition as possible and look at some other areas," he said.

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