Brisbane City Council’s more than 130 CCTV cameras have been keeping our city safe during the coronavirus lockdown, with the quieter city streets leading to an increase in shoplifting and antisocial behaviour.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said despite many residents staying away from the CBD during the coronavirus crisis, Council’s 135 CCTV cameras kept watch 24/7 over public spaces across the city.

“The CitySafe control room remained fully operational around the clock and worked with the Queensland Police Service to keep everyone safe, with a focus on the local retailers and shopping centres who traded during the lockdown,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Over the past 12 months Council’s CCTV identified more than 20,000 incidents, reported 995 incidents to police and footage of 423 incident was passed onto QPS as part of their investigation.

“This includes about 260 incidents of suspected stolen property, 23 reports of vandalism, 130 fires and more than 2300 reports of people acting disorderly.”

This financial year Council is investing $1.2 million in the CitySafe network, which monitors the CBD including the Queen Street Mall, City Botanic Gardens and Fortitude Valley.

Cr Schrinner said there had been a 50 per cent increase in suspected stolen property and theft during April and May 2020 compared to 2019.

“Retailers are telling us that shoplifting and anti-social behaviour has been rife during the coronavirus lockdown,” he said.

“We have heard of incidents of people shoplifting hand sanitiser, toilet paper, canned foods and board games and increased instances of aggressive behaviour to staff and general loitering in the city.

“Every single one of Council’s cameras are fitted with loudspeaker which allows for real-time interventions with more than 2300 broadcasts in the past year.

“When someone is doing the wrong thing the sound of a broadcast letting them know they are being watched and what they are doing is not acceptable stops more than half of people in their tracks.”

Cr Schrinner said as more businesses reopen across the CBD and employees head back to work the CitySafe network will continue to keep our streets safe.

“Businesses, employees, residents and visitors have every right to feel safe in and around our city, so our network of CCTV cameras is one of the many ways we’re helping to maintain Brisbane as a great place to live, work and relax,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter when or what it is, the message is clear – if you’re going to commit an offence, our cameras are highly likely to see you and you’ll face the consequences.”