Council CCTV grants help protect businesses and the community

ON WATCH: The push for installing CCTV gains momentum with each passing year, with the cameras helping to secure business premises as well as protect the community. Photo: Shutterstock
ON WATCH: The push for installing CCTV gains momentum with each passing year, with the cameras helping to secure business premises as well as protect the community. Photo: Shutterstock

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Small businesses have a tough row to hoe these days, with increased online competition, onerous amounts of red tape, and roller coaster consumer confidence.

So, local entrepreneurs certainly don’t want to deal with petty crims breaking shopfront windows or destroying property.

Fortunately for Bathurst businesses, the fight against crime has, once again this year, been given a boost by Bathurst Regional Council. 

Businesses in the Bathurst Local Government Area can now apply for a CCTV Funding Program grant. 

CCTV is a bit like a smartphone. They are just becoming one of the normal tools of business.

Hywel Blake

The program was introduced years ago by council to provide financial assistance to businesses, enabling them to install closed-circuit television at their premises, while also providing another level of protection in the adjacent public areas. Thanks to the initiative, businesses can apply for funding up to a maximum of $500 on a dollar-for-dollar basis. 

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Owner of Smith and Co Security Hywel Blake, has been protecting people and property, one way or another, for many years.

The former police officer operated a security business in Sydney before heading up Smith and Co in Bathurst and he believes CCTV is well on it’s way to becoming an essential for businesses.

“CCTV cameras are a bit like a smartphone,” Mr Blake said. “They are becoming one of the normal tools of business. The cameras act as a deterrent because people can’t go out and do something anonymous.

“Business is tough and it’s the mindless vandalism that really hurts you. You can’t afford to cop anything that affects the bottom line.”

In 2012, Smith and Co installed 42 cameras across the Wellington business district, on behalf of council, to try and combat street crime.

“Incidents virtually disappeared in the first 12 months,” Mr Blake said. “There was an 80 per cent reduction in street crime.”

Businesses can maximise the benefits of council’s program by banding together.

“If a group of shops [near each other] got together to participate in this scheme they could have all angles covered,” he said. “It would effectively multiple the effectiveness of their grant.”

Smith and Co Security can assess a business’ CCTV need and also assist with completing paperwork required to apply for the grant. 

“I never had anyone say ‘I wish I spent less money on my CCTV’,” Mr Blake said.