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Yonge BIA seeks CCTV program

The CCTV pilot project conducted during the Christmas holidays by the Toronto Police Service (TPS) will be extended by the the Yonge Business Improvement Area (BIA)  to the tune of $150,000.


February 22, 2007
By Andrew Wareing

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In February, representatives of the Yonge BIA met with the City of
Toronto and the TPS to discuss the feasibility of installing six
pan/tilt/zoom cameras along Yonge Street from Dundas to Gerrard Streets
in the downtown Toronto core. The BIA proposal is for the city to
shoulder the public accountability for the system, the police would be
responsible for monitoring it and the BIA would pay the expense of
installing the cameras, as well as having a digital video recorder to
record input from the cameras.

If approved, the system would be installed in conjunction with street lighting improvements in the area planned this spring.

The TPS has been conducting its own series of public consultations on
the installation of security cameras in several locations throughout
the city as part of an anti-violence policy. The last of the public
consultations took place Feb. 20 at St Mary’s Secondary School, 66
Dufferin Park Avenue in Toronto.

“I believe CCTV cameras can be an excellent addition to our ongoing
efforts to protect public safety in Toronto. They act as a deterrent to
those considering committing crime. They can provide excellent evidence
should people choose to commit crime. We are committed to working
closely with the communities of this city to provide the most effective
technology, in addition to the efforts of our dedicated men and women,
to protect public safety, says Superintendent Jeff McGuire.

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“As part of that, we have undertaken a city−wide public consultation
process with our Police Services Board. We want to explain what we
would like to do by providing detailed information, answering any
questions or concerns people might have, and distributing survey forms.
We know that the Service’s CCTV policy can only benefit from such
extensive public consultation.”

“What we’re seeing emerge is two models of how pilot projects could
unfold with ours being one of them, and a partnership agreement with
ourselves, the police and the city,” says Yonge BIA executive director
James Robinson.

Robinson has attended the TPS public sessions and adds that the BIA
has, itself, received support for the proposal from the public for the
project. To gauge that support, the BIA has taken several polls
including telephone and random surveys of people in the area.

More public consultation is planned. “Into March, we’re going to need
to get more public consultation on our initiative,” he says.  “By April
or May, we are going to need to have a set of operating procedures and,
concurrently, we will be developing our technical specifications with a
tender call going our in April or May.”
Robinson says follow-up meetings are planned with the city and the TPS,
with the hopes that approvals from everyone for the system will be in
place by April.

“We don’t have our approvals yet; that’s what we’re pursuing,” he says.
“It’s a work in progress. We’re getting there. It can be slow at times
but, so far, it’s moving in the right direction.”


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