Police push camera pilot project
As many as 30 security cameras may be going up in high-crime neighborhoods as early as 2009.
Winnipeg police are expected to soon deliver a report to city council that will recommend a pilot project with closed-circuit cameras, or CCTs.
"The only places we'll be putting these cameras are in high-risk neighbourhoods," said Police Supt. Gord Schumacher. "After a tremendous amount of public consultation we're not going to put them anywhere the community doesn't want them."
The city began exploring the issue months ago. The protection and community services committee had left the idea in the hands of the Winnipeg Police Service to research and come up with a game plan.
There are 11 areas being considered right now, although police are not releasing which neighborhoods have been flagged for possible participation in the program.
One area already wants in
The Spence Street Neighbourhood Association has already indicated it wants in.
"Cameras would make a difference," said Lynne Backlund, who is with the committee. "We have a lot of crime in our neighbourhood, unfortunately. Recently it has been going up again."
The association sent out a survey in December and got back 100 responses.
Ninety-three per cent were in favour of the cameras.
Many people, like Pam Shivbalak, offered to install them on their own homes.
Shivbalak said she would do it without hesitation to protect her family.
"I would feel much safer and feel better here because with the crime and stuff that goes on, I think that would help around the neighbourhood," she said.
Winnipeg police looked at similar programs in Toronto and London, England. In London, 4 million cameras watch a person's every single move.
Police say Toronto's pilot program cost roughly $2 million to install more than 20 cameras.
Cost will be an issue
Winnipeg is looking to put up 20 to 30 cameras and paying for the program will be an issue.
The city is exploring funding opportunities with the business community, corporations, and local BIZ organizations.
"If it's not going to be an issue for us it's going to be an issue for the community," said Gord Steeves, who chairs the protection and community services committee. "Who will probably be expected to contribute in a very real sense to this program?"
Winnipeg police have already used private security cameras in their investigations. Late last year, police made an arrest in a sexual assault on a young girl after they released video images of the car used by the suspect.
If City Hall moves ahead, police will hold a series of community consultations to figure out the best place to put the cameras.
The final report on close circuit television cameras will go before city council on April 23.
With a report from CTV's Alana Pona.