How we’re helping keep Melbourne safe

20 March 2024

As the third most liveable city in the world, we take safety and security seriously here in Melbourne.  

For us, safety is at the core of our renowned liveability status.   

If people don’t feel safe, they won’t want to live, work or visit here. 

While Victoria Police provides policing services to the community, the City of Melbourne invests in safety and security infrastructure within the city and in our security teams and their ability to collaborate with police and other emergency services.

A CCTV camera in Carlton
The first of the new CCTV cameras installed in Carlton.

Investment in safety and security  

This year, we’re investing $6 million in critical safety infrastructure and resources, including more safety lighting to reduce antisocial behaviour at night.

In partnership with the Victorian Government, we’re currently expanding our closed-circuit television camera network into new neighbourhoods – like Carlton – with eight cameras to be installed in key locations like Lygon Street and Argle Square by July.  

We’ve also upgraded our safe city cameras in the CBD, along with upgrading lighting in key precincts such as Bourke Street, between Exhibition and Spring streets. 

We know police can’t be everywhere at once but this network of closed-circuit TV surveillance cameras helps create a safer environment and reduce crime levels by deterring potential offending and helping in crime detection.  

The cameras operate in areas where antisocial behaviour or criminal activity is historically more likely to occur. 

Signage is placed in the monitored areas to alert the community of the surveillance.  

Our specially trained security contractors in our Safe City Cameras Program Control Room monitor these cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week, recording incidents and alerting police.   
The footage can also be viewed at police stations and on officers’ devices when responding to an incident.   

In the past decade, the Safe City Cameras Program has:  

  • Recorded 47,258 incidents  
  • Provided 9,706 copies of recorded footage to Victoria Police  
  • And transferred 30,160 occurrences of live vision to police. 

What started with 23 cameras in 1995 and a team of one has grown to a slick operation of 254 cameras and a mobile CCTV car, plus 11 dedicated contract security staff, comprising two round-the-clock operators and a full-time technician and apprentice.  

And we’re not stopping there. In May, we’re adding a Safe City Supervisor role from Monday to Friday.  

This will enhance our proactive monitoring capability on the streets, improve training of existing and new Safe City Operators, streamline our administrative functions by processing police applications for footage faster, and provide us with a resource to constantly look at improvement of the system and operations.   

We’ll soon be employing a Safe City Supervisor to assist with providing CCTV camera footage to police.

Our Safe City CCTV Car, which operates from 10pm to 6am on Friday and Saturday nights, will also be expanded to Thursday nights this year.  

This vehicle is fitted with 360-degree CCTV surveillance cameras to record in real-time with electronic media downloaded at the end of each shift.  

The car’s movements are directed via the Safe City Control Room and tasked to jobs where our permanent cameras can’t view – for example, if there’s an incident in a small laneway.  

This means we are able to report live incidents of crime, with accurate descriptions and paths of travel, to triple 000 and support police responses.    

This is just one example of our collaborative efforts with emergency services across the city.     

Trends we’re seeing in Melbourne    

We constantly identify and respond to emerging security trends.  

One of these is an increase in high-level criminal damage and arson in some of our main amenity blocks in our parks.   

Thanks to our security team’s innovative approach, we’re trialling an environmental sensor – the HALO – that can detect smoke, spray paint and yelling to alert us of the date and time of incidents for potential monitoring.   

The sensor is linked to our CCTV management system.   

Already, on two occasions footage has been provided to police from arson events in an amenity block in South Yarra; and incidents of arson have reduced in the past five months.  

Our local laws team works closely with Victoria Police to ensure the city is safe for traders and visitors.

Security and supporting our business community  

Our investment in security infrastructure is not only about liveability, it’s also about supporting our business community.  

We know that security done well supports local business, and gives customers the confidence to visit our local traders.  

That’s why we work with our business community, encouraging them to maintain their own security equipment – such as lighting, CCTV cameras, door hardware and signage – to enhance the perception of safety in and around a property.   

This also includes reporting faulty public lighting, dumped rubbish, graffiti or overflowing bins so we can rectify this as soon as possible.   

We know our traders are busy, which is why we have a hotline (9658 9658) and online reporting tool to make this as easy as possible.  

There’s certainly an impetus to invest in safety and safety maintenance.  

Our security teams find there’s a correlation – clean, well maintained and managed properties generally promote better behaviour from people interacting in those areas. 

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