Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Waterfront cameras - too many? too few?

The area around the Waterfront Hall and Lanyon Place has been in the news the last couple of weekends for all the wrong reasons.

First there was the violent confrontation on the bridge (the one that leads from the Hilton across to East Bridge Street) which resulted in a teenager jumping over the side of the bridge to escape, and sustaining serious injuries from the long fall.

Then last weekend came the news report of a fourteen year old girl who was raped in the Waterfront area.

Some of the cameras around the Waterfront / Lanyon Place area

An area surrounded by paved pedestrian walkways, whether along the banks of the Lagan or in front of the concert hall. Restaurants opening. Foundations of more buildings been dug and concrete poured.

Covered with cameras. Yet still an unsafe place to be at night. No cameras actually covering the length of the bridge. But would the addition of more cameras actually make the area any safer?


James said...

With all the hundreds of millions of pounds offered by the British Home Office for CCTV schemes, there exists no hard and fast research or statistical proof that CCTV reduces crime. It might shift it elsewhere, or make people think that they are safer, but it is largely useless unless there is a pair of eyes watching every camera all of the time.

CCTV has been a subject of study in our Masters studio of architecture at Sheffield. You can track our group and individual progress on our wiki, although beware, 'cos it's a wiki it changes a lot :)

I took a little walk through Sheffield and tried to count how many cameras might theoretically catch sight of me in 20 minutes. The answer?

Subsequently I got in touch with the council to see inside their multi-million pound police-city system. The map of their cameras that I was able to plot is astonishing.

Don't forget though, that although the Data Protection Act makes no mention of the words or concept of personal privacy, you are entitled under that legislation to write to the controller of any CCTV system and see footage or stills of you. They just have to blank the faces of everyone else in the footage to protect their privacy :) This has led to a brilliant film...

...made entirely with CCTV footage extracted courtesy of the Data Protection Act.

Timothy Belmont said...

Has there ever been a police presence there? If they patrol the area as frequently as they claim, it ought to be on one of those CCTVs.

Red Mum said...

I remember one New Years Eve coming home from a party in a private bus and we saw one fella getting sixty shades of shite kicked out of him by a couple of lads. I remember, as well as being traumatised at such aggression, thinking that how on earth could that have gone on for any length of time considering the security, cameras, police presence in the area. Seems they aren't there to protect people!

Red Mum said...

Sorry I should have said it was outside the court.