It has been one year since closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras first began recording the minute-by-minute actions on George Street.
May 1 officially marks the one-year anniversary and, to celebrate, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary chief of police Robert Johnston spoke with reporters about the impact of the cameras.
There are currently 12 individual cameras installed on power poles around the street, feeding video to RNC headquarters.
The cameras were installed at a cost of $260,000, covered by the provincial government. At the time of installation, annual upkeep on the system was expected to cost $49,000 a year, committed by the province for at least three years.
The promise made by the RNC and other advocates in 2011 was “public safety in the downtown area of St. John’s will be enhanced,” as a result of the use of the cameras.
“Over the past several years the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has seen an increase in the number of calls for service in the downtown area,” Johnston said at the time. “The RNC’s vision is to provide public safety through policing excellence; CCTV cameras will assist in achieving that goal.”
The city made similar commitments. “These cameras will help us achieve our goal of a safe George Street,” stated City of St. John’s Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff.
Today, Johnston told reporters the RNC has compared the number of complaint calls from the George Street area for the 10 months before and after the cameras were installed and the number of complaints have decreased in that time.
A number of members of the George Street Association have been in contact with the RNC about use of footage, in cases relating to vandalism, specifically graffiti, or problem customers, association rep Seamus O’Keefe told The Telegram.
“We haven’t seen any impact or decline on people attending George Street Festival or George Street bars,” he said.
Read more on George Street security in tomorrow’s print and digital edition of The Telegram.