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Mixed feelings from local business owner on downtown cameras

By Tara Clow May 26, 2023 | 7:27 AM

A local business owner isn’t convinced that the addition of cameras on St. George Street will help deter crime.

Jo-Anne Phillips says her rental properties have been broken into.  Her current surveillance systems show these individuals are getting more brazen, “The numbers are increasing. I’ve got two cameras on the back of our one property, and I’ve got several photographs of homeless individuals dropping their pants to leave deposits on my lawn. They can see the cameras, they’re not deterred by that. It doesn’t bother them at all.”

Phillips has three properties in downtown Moncton, one on Dufferin Street, that they use for workshops and short-stay rentals, and they have a lot of professionals who stay there. She says most give positive feedback, but they also express their concerns for safety, “We had a nurse staying with us and she found it uncomfortable with the number of homeless that were circulating in the area. She had her husband escort her to work and back, so it was a good thing he was with her. She stayed with us for several weeks, but she felt really challenged with safety issues because of the homeless, and she’s from Vancouver.”

She hopes the cameras and the steps being taken to deter crime will have an impact, but she also questions what will be seen.

“When our home was broken into, the city suggested that we should have better surveillance systems, but what are you going to see? We have surveillance on the front and back of all of our dwellings downtown, and you see a person wearing a hoodie but doesn’t show their face. You’re not capturing license plates or anything that is easily identifiable. Granted, the homeless don’t change their clothing as often as you and I do, so you might recognize some clothing but it doesn’t directly tie the individual to the situation. It’s not really giving the police anymore to go on,” Phillips says.

She feels more need to come to the table with some better ideas because the situation is far more grave than it was two years ago.

Moncton City Council agreed earlier this month to spend $90, 000 to install 33 video surveillance cameras at 11 locations along St. George Street.

The cameras will be installed on existing city infrastructure on St. George from Vaughan Harvey Boulevard to King Street which is a stretch mainly home to various businesses and services for the homeless population including two nearby shelters.

Cameras have already been installed along Main Street.

With files from Allan Dearing


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