By CAMERON LUCADOU-WELLS
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FIVE extra CCTV cameras that will soon scan Dandenong railway station’s frontage and Foster Street could end the precinct’s reputation as a “battleground”, traders say.
Last week, the state government announced $250,000 for stage one of the Greater Dandenong Council project, with the initial five cameras expected to operate from July. Under the project, 14 cameras will be installed in Foster Street and the railway station.
Senior Sergeant Steve Wood of Greater Dandenong police said the cameras would be monitored daily by police to prevent crime.
“They give us the ability to respond to gang activity and antisocial behaviour immediately. We can have police attend before a crime is committed.”
He said the cameras, which can zoom, photograph and follow people and incidents as they move along the street, would be a tool for investigation, intelligence and act as a deterrent.
The project follows a trial of CCTV in Menzies Avenue, Dandenong North.
Little India trader Kathryne Turton-Lane said the cameras would make people feel safer and cut car thefts and damage in the area.
“It’ll stop the disaffected youth using it as their battleground. It’ll make it safer for the average person to get to the station, particularly at night.”
As a trader of 30 years in Foster Street, Ms Turton-Lane said she’d seen the area transform from a “nice street” to a “crime-riddled” scene.
“It’s becoming a nicer street again. This will inspire the Indian community to go out. They’re night owls and they like to eat late.”
Cr Roz Blades, who played a major hand in the council’s recently-launched safety action plan for Dandenong station, said the cameras would help end commuters’ reluctance to visit the station.
“We want people to come to Dandenong and feel safe,” she said. “They can come here at night, go to the emerging alfresco cafes in Lonsdale Street, and the Drum theatre. The culture of Dandenong is gradually changing.”
South Eastern MP Inga Peulich said CCTV would help reduce crime levels and increase community confidence in the precinct.