Diggers Rest residents have stepped up their security and introduced cameras with number plate recognition technology.

A safety cam initiative, the brainchild of Community Against Crime director Tim Payne, was launched two years ago after a spate of burglaries in the area.

Some Teatree Street residents took their safety into their own hands by installing live view camera systems on their properties to record 24-hour footage from various points along the street.

Participating residents can access real-time footage of movement in their street and can also contact one another via a dedicated online messenger group, so information can be shared.

The neighbourhood watch was ramped up last week with number plate recognition cameras installed as part of a new Safe Streets program. About 18 of 22 properties in the street have sign up for the program.

Mr Payne said it gave residents in the street “peace of mind”.

“Number plate recognition is existing technology that is used at petrol stations in the event of drive-offs,” he said. “How many times do we hear [on the news] that a car was involved in a home invasion or any other crime and we only have a partial description.

“We act only on police advice … the program is designed so that safety officers can access the footage and hand over information to police if an incident should occur.”

Mr Payne said the number plate recognition system only accessed information that is publicly available.

He said the cameras could also help deter crime and, in the event of a crime or anti-social behaviour, help police find those responsible.

“The purpose of this program is to prevent crime from happening,” Mr Payne said.

“Ideally, we’d never have to access the data … People need to feel safe in the area that they live in.”

A Melton police spokeswoman told

Star Weekly that number plate recognition technology is legal and does not give operators access to private personal information.

Community Against Crime runs a number of programs, including domestic violence prevention, live view CCTV network as well as the Safe Streets, all community funded.

An online fundraising campaign has been set up to buy SafeTCards for victims of domestic violence, more number plate recognition cameras and anti-theft number plate screws.

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