Smile, you're on television

VANDALS in the Murwillumbah CBD, drug dealers in Knox Park and hoons in the town's new three-level public car park should be warned: Big Brother is now watching you.

Not only that, but the hi-tech eyes that have sprouted on poles and walls around the town are producing high-quality pictures.

“They are mega pixel cameras so the pixel quality is crystal clear,” said technician Chris Wadsworth yesterday as he made the last fine-tuning adjustments to the long-awaited $170,000 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security camera system.

“You can read print on T-shirts and stuff,” he added.

Mr Wadsworth's Kingscliff-based company Chris Tech Security Alarm Systems earlier this year beat a number of outside firms for the $170,000 CCTV contract which uses $70,000 in Federal Government funding promised back in 2007, plus a further $100,000 from the government's economic stimulus measures.

“It's going really well,” he said as he made final modifications.

“We have 29 cameras in the CBD, Knox Park and the pool area.”

The latter includes the three-storey car park where the lift, stairwells and walls have been vandalised since it was opened late last year and a number of locals have complained about the dangers of skateboarders using ramps in the complex.

Mr Wadsworth said the cameras would be monitored from a huge screen in the Murwillumbah police station under a system which would also record all images for later checking.

“When the guys are in the station they can see it all,” he said.

“They are monitoring it when they are there and when they take off it's still recording. If something happens, they can go back to that.”

Under the conditions of the Federal Government stimulus package, funding the system had to be installed before September.

The expected official launch of the system next week means police will have had more than two months getting used to it before large crowds are expected in town for the proposed world championship car rally and associated Speed on Tweed historic car festival.

It will also be operating over the last week in August, coinciding with theBanana Festival, when petty night-time vandalism has often taken place.

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