Extra surveillance is being added to a Whangārei off-road walk and cycle way notorious as a hotbed for youth violence.
Five new CCTV cameras will be installed in current blind spots on the Kamo Shared Path, between Rust Ave and Manse St, as a response to reports of school- aged fighting and assaults.
In March, Whangārei Intermediate School pupil Aurora Makara, 11, had her head stomped on more than five times by an unknown teenager as she walked along the shared path towards Manse St.
The incident raised concerns among parents who told Makara's mother, Moana Miru-Makara, their children were scared to make the same short walk.
Whangārei District Council community safety officer Dave Palmer said the new cameras – which will be split between two sites on the shared path – had been in the pipeline but they had to wait for the equipment to arrive.
"It was a result of an incident that happened a while ago and also from a meeting the police and school principals had."
Palmer said power was installed this week and will shortly followed by the cameras themselves.
The new additions take the tally of cameras along the 4.7km shared path to around 25 – out of an overall total of about 300 cameras that monitor the city centre and Town Basin also.
Another 40 cameras are expected to be added to the CCTV network over the next 12 months.
A member of Whangārei's Blue Club - the volunteer group that monitor the network – said they could always do with more people to help keep an eye on the city.
Volunteers complete three hour stints, seven days a week, behind a desk full of screens in the hub of the Whangārei Police Station.
He said the service was an essential part of supporting police – who were being pulled in every direction, and constantly having to re-prioritise callouts.
"We see all sorts of things – from the gangs in town to other anti-social behaviour. If nothing happens, it's a good day."
Crime spotting wasn't the only agenda the CCTV network fulfilled.
A volunteer had once spotted an elderly woman collapsing backwards on Manse St one Saturday morning – her head struck the concrete hard as she landed.
"Three people walked past and did nothing to help her. The camera operator noticed and called for an ambulance."
They weren't available so the volunteer phoned for police, who rushed her to Whangārei Hospital.
is being heralded by Northland police as a successful deterrent of crime.
Mid and Far North relieving area commander and strategic partnership manager, Chris McLellan, said there had been a successful drop in inner city crime since the cameras were installed in 2015.
"They've been highly successful in reducing burglaries, violence, and other associated crime and allowing for more thorough police investigations.
"The feedback from businesses and the community is they feel safer because people are aware the cameras are operating and people are reviewing the footage..."
Kaitaia's CCTV network proved such a hit that other Far North townships – such as Kawakawa, Moerewa and more recently Paihia – followed suit.
But McLellan said it was important people continued to report crime or suspicious activity to police.
"CCTV is an excellent tool of many to prevent crime. But we really rely on people to ring 111 or report suspicious activity to us so we know where it's happening and can do more to prevent it."
People keen to get involved can sign up to Neighbourhood Support and Community Patrol via their websites; or visit their nearest police station to inquire about becoming a CCTV volunteer.