Residents of a Diggers Rest street have taken neighbourhood watch to the next level, and a Sunbury street is about to follow suit.
A spike in burglaries in the area prompted residents to take their safety into their own hands earlier this year by installing a live-view camera system.
The safety cam initiative has the support of Community Against Crime group president Tim Payne who said it gave residents in the street “peace of mind”.
Mr Payne said he is in discussions to introduce a similar system in parts of Sunbury.
Cameras record 24-hour live digital footage along a street, with participating residents able to access real-time footage. Residents can also contact one another via a online messenger group to share information.
“In September last year, the Diggers Rest community came together at a safety forum because residents were concerned about home invasions in the area,” Mr Payne told Star Weekly.
“The crime rate in Diggers Rest was up 115 per cent at that time so there was a sense of concern among all the residents.
“Following the safety forum … this community came to me because they needed help and they wanted to be proactive about their safety.”
He said the cameras could help deter crime and, in the event of a crime or anti-social behaviour, help police detect those responsible.
About 18 properties in the Diggers Rest street have signed up for the program, with participants paying $400 in set-up fees plus an annual $150 fee for maintenance and support.
“If one resident just looks at the app once a day, and there are 30 people in the street, you can almost guarantee that someone’s watching at all times,” Mr Payne said.
Security specialist Jeremy Stewart, a sponsor of the safety-cam initiative, said public unrest about burglaries has boosted his business.
“There’s no doubt that the rise in crime in the last 12 months has captured people’s imagination,” Mr Stewart said.
“The fact that burglaries are up … has translated into a higher demand for security systems.
“Our business is up about 15 per cent as people think more about their security.”
By Esther Lauaki and Serena Seyfort