EXCLUSIVE: Research reveals closely-guarded Safe City data
CRIME in Ipswich has dropped since the Safe City camera network was introduced, a new research project has found.
For four months Adrianne Robinson has studied the network and was granted access to Ipswich City Council's closely-guarded data.
In a research project for her Juris Doctor, Ms Robinson found the network was "an effective crime deterrent and reduction tool".
"The Safe City program has had a consistent amount of media coverage and is considered amongst operators of similar systems to be the benchmark for a fully-integrated crime-prevention program," she noted.
Her research found of the 1350 snippets of footage collected by police, 1123 arrests were made as a direct result of Safe City.
"I've been a resident for a long time and you can see the difference between 20 years ago and now," Ms Robinson said.
"I looked at it from a completely unbiased view and on the statistics, it's proven the Safe City system works."
Ms Robinson conducted the research program after criminologist Tim Prenzler was quoted in the QT in April saying Safe City had not affected the region's crime rate.
"That's what made me decide to go down this route for my thesis - that particular article," she said.
"I thought, how can you say something doesn't work when you don't have all the evidence behind it?"
Mr Prenzler was refused access to the council's Safe City data and instead analysed court convictions.
"It's like chalk and cheese," Ms Robinson said.
"Safe City has nothing to do with the courts."
Ms Robinson said Ipswich's network of more than 500 cameras formed the basis for other councils' systems.
"It was initially set up not just to stop crime, but for the safety of the citizens," she said.
"They can spot traffic incidents and missing persons.
"It's definitely more for the safety of the citizens in that regard and crime prevention comes off the back of that."
Analysis conducted by the Queensland Police Service during 2007 found Ipswich experienced a 74.9 per cent reduction in crime since the commencement of the Safe City program in 1994.
In her project, Ms Robinson noted more awareness of the presence of CCTV "would increase the deterrent effect".
"Whilst it appears that the Safe City program is succeeding in its goals, it must be noted that the Office of the Information Commissioner, in its report, was concerned that the signage surrounding the cameras was inadequate," it said.