Would-be crooks in Waipukurau and Waipawa might want to look up next time they consider committing a crime - chances are they have already been caught on camera.
Hawke's Bay Police area commander, Inspector Tania Kura, will be the special guest at a ceremony at Waipukurau police station this afternoon celebrating the launch of a network of CCTV cameras across the two towns.
Today's celebration has been a long time coming for Lloyd Lawrence, one of the founders of the CHB Community Security Trust, and CHB community constable Glynn Sharp, who have been working on the camera plan for the past few years.
Initially the crime fighting pair's plan was to install a network of 10 strategically-placed cameras, six in Waipukurau and four in Waipawa, all linked to Waipukurau police station. The cameras are primarily to act as deterrents, but also record footage that can reviewed by police to help solve crimes.
As of last week, seven of the cameras were already installed and operational, providing good coverage of popular spots, including Nelly Jull Park in Waipawa and the public car park at Waipukurau's AW Parsons Indoor Pool complex and adjacent children's playground.
After successfully raising close to $45,000, Lloyd said more would be installed shortly and he was confident there were enough funds to add more to the network.
"The money's still trickling in, so we might even have 12 cameras by the time we're finished," Lloyd said. A lot of the cost had been IT work to enable the cameras to transmit the footage to Waipukurau police station.
Some static cameras had cost $500-$600 while others that form part of the network, such as the licence capturing cameras and those which can automatically track and zoom in on any movement - like a person walking through a car park at night - had cost up to $2500 each, said Lloyd.
"They can zoom right in. They're magnificent, absolutely state-of-the-art," he said.
The vehicle licence-capturing cameras will cover the highways leading in and out of both Waipukurau and Waipawa to capture car number plates and "lock the towns in".
Constable Sharp said the high-tech cameras would be useful crime-solving tools.
"Say if someone fills up at Caltex in Waipukurau and shoots off to Hastings without paying and they drive past one of these cameras and we have their number plate, all we need to do is type the number plate into the computer and it will search through the footage and find that car. It will save hours of work," he said.