BY JACKIE KEOGH
DUNMANWAY town centre is now 100% covered by 16 CCTV cameras, with plans to extend coverage to outlying areas.
West Cork crime prevention officer Sgt Ian O’Callaghan said the significance of the surveillance system cannot be underestimated because they – including two special number plate recognition cameras – could be instrumental in the detection and solving of crimes.
The number plate recognition cameras are so sophisticated that they can identify the make, model, number plate and colour of any vehicle passing into or out of the town.
Speaking to members of Dunmanway Chamber of Commerce at a specially convened Retail Crime Prevention meeting at the Parkway Hotel, Sgt O’Callaghan said gardaí, in co-operation with the Chamber and the local authority, are looking at expanding the CCTV coverage to other outlying areas.
‘Phase one has been an outstanding success,’ the sergeant said during the course of the briefing – one of 11 Retail Crime Prevention meetings scheduled to take place throughout West Cork in the lead up to Christmas.
The purpose of the meeting was to educate business people about the measures they need to take to make sure their commercial premises and homes are secure.
He said it comes down to this: ‘If you have access to cash you have to consider alarming your own home.’
In terms of preventing crime, the sergeant urged the installation of up-to-date alarms and the fitting of robust locks on doors, but he added that in-store CCTV has proven to be a massive deterrent. ‘There is no doubt about it, CCTV is the best crime prevention initiative that has ever been introduced into the area,’ he said.
Not only does it prevent crimes like burglaries, the sergeant said it is also proving to be a useful deterrent in terms of assaults because ‘the word has gone out that the town centre is 100% covered.’
Given the advances in technology, the sergeant said: ‘If you have CCTV, but it is 10 years old, or more, you should consider having it upgraded.’
The sergeant confirmed that there have been four burglaries in the Dunmanway area this year, but none of them have been business related.
He said cash and gold, and other portable items – such as cigarettes – continue to be targeted by burglars, but he also warned that trade vans and unlocked garden sheds are attracting criminals.