|Bayfair Shopping Centre's new security measures|
Criminals beware: the Police presence in Mount Maunganui is expanding with the opening of a prominent new Police Information Centre (PIC) and the upgrading of security cameras at Bayfair Shopping Centre.
The PIC will be the first port of call for complaints and queries from the public, and will be manned by Police volunteers during its opening hours of 9am to 3pm. It will host a direct telephone line to the local Police station, and volunteers will give out information and assist with reported offences by directing them to the community constable or the nearest Police station. Mount Maunganui Community Constable Wayne Lambert aims to be at the PIC as much as he can, to service the needs of the Bayfair and the Arataki community.
Centre Manager Andrew Wadsworth said although crime statistics in the area were the worst in the Western Bay of Plenty, the region also had the best record for crime reduction when the right security measures were implemented. “Any incident that may happen at Bayfair is a concern to us, but crime is a community issue and the steps we’re taking at the centre are intended to make the whole community safer. We expect that more sophisticated security cameras and an increased Police presence inside and around the centre will reduce the incidence of crimes, make it easier to identify and prosecute offenders when crime does occur, and make the public feel safer.”
“Bayfair has been very supportive of the Police in the area,” Constable Lambert said. “The installation of this PIC and the increased Police presence, along with the improved security cameras, shows Bayfair is thinking of the needs of its customers and the community in general.”Constable Lambert said Bayfair was being proactive in funding the security measures, which represented a substantial investment by the centre to support Police and reduce crime. With the new security cameras overlooking the entire centre, including carparks, the Bayfair security team will have a comprehensive picture of activity in the area.
The cameras are high-resolution pan-tilt zoom devices that allow security to get a clear view of faces and even read licence plates. SIACS Design Engineer Clint Herbert said the cameras had the dual benefit of deterring would-be offenders and promoting safety and the protection of property. “Vandalism and graffiti have been problems in Mt Maunganui for some time, and shoplifting is a problem around the country – it costs New Zealand retailers $750 million each year, and peaks around Christmas. A good camera system can reduce shoplifting by up to 90 percent, because offenders know they are more likely to be caught.” The system will be highly visible to visitors, who will see themselves on screens as they enter the centre.