By Derek Schlennstedt

Belgrave’s police and business community have welcomed a new network of CCTV cameras around the town.

Casey MP Tony Smith officially launched the system on Friday 5 October.

The cameras cover Belgrave main street, a number of public areas, and motorists travelling in and out of the town.

Police and local traders joined Mr Smith for the launch, which is part of a planned expansion of CCTV cameras across Yarra Ranges.

“I’m very pleased that the Belgrave cameras are up and running,” he said.

“The field evidence on the existing camera network is very strong and shows that these cameras combat crime and they deter crime,” Mr Smith said.

“For retailers there is a confidence with the cameras that there and the fear is reduced that it’s going to be trashed or graffitied.”

“It gives a level of confidence for our retailers and then there customers.”

Belgrave is the ninth town across the Yarra Ranges to receive the high-tech cameras.

Yarra Ranges Crime Prevention Officer, Leading Senior Constable Linda Hancock, has been working with the Belgrave community as part of the Yarra Ranges Safety Camera Network to get the best system available.

She told the Mail the cameras were situated to see the comings and goings around the town, but had a few extra investigative capabilities such as, facial recognition.

“We’re able to very quickly with the new technology search for facial recognition, colours of vehicles and movement form location to location,” she said.

“The software enables us to put a number of details into the system and search on various cameras for those particular items we want … we can select a car park and find out when cars entered and left, and search for red cars if need be.”

With the view to link all CCTV camera footage to the 24-hour police station in Lilydale, Lead Sen Const Hancock said it would help police respond to incidents.

“We’ll have the capacity to plan a response … It makes an unplanned response into a planned response which is really important in our line of work.”

“For instance we may have a situation that’s been called through that there’s an issue happening outside a premise in Mount Evelyn or Belgrave and people are throwing bottles.

“We can look at that on the camera prior to going and know how to address, or how many units to send.”

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