Driving past the homeless gathered in Kuirau Park this week and you might have seen something a bit different, all under the watchful eye of a mobile security camera. Journalist Kelly Makiha reports.
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A mobile security camera in Rotorua's Kuirau Park placed where "streeties" gather during the day is capturing activity of a different kind this week.
Donated sports equipment, including a cricket set, rugby balls and a frisbee, have been put to good use for the homeless and those living in emergency housing who gather at Kuirau Park.
The streeties, as some call themselves, told the Rotorua Daily Post it had proved a great incentive to "get them off their butts".
One woman, who didn't want her name published, said the equipment was given to them on Sunday by a local family.
She said the family brought their kids down to the park to play the games with them too.
"It was a great afternoon."
A man said despite the fitness levels being "not so cool", he said it was good for those driving past to not just see them sitting around doing nothing.
"They can see we are getting off our butts".
Meanwhile, the woman said the Rotorua Lakes Council mobile security camera, which appeared at the park in the middle of last week, was "cheeky",
"They are just looking for an excuse to spy on us. They should be looking for the drinkers, they are the ones causing all the trouble."
Tiny Deane, who runs the Night Shelter on Pukuatua St, said it was just one of many donations kindly given to the homeless.
He said the sports equipment was a great boost as everyone felt better when they did a bit of exercise.
In a written statement in response to questions, Rotorua Lakes Council operations group manager Jocelyn Mikaere said the security camera was part of the joint inner-city safety campaign between the council and police.
"The aim of the mobile camera is to deter anti-social and criminal behaviour and provide council and police with additional surveillance in particular areas as required. Currently, it is proving to be effective in Kuirau Park and helps us ensure visitors to the park are respectful of both the space and of other park users," Mikaere said.
The mobile camera was in addition to the 48 fixed CCTV cameras throughout the central city. Monitoring of these cameras increased when the joint council and police inner-city safety campaign began in late 2018.
"Council's Safe City Guardians, security partners and police also continue to patrol daily in the wider CBD area, including parks, dealing with issues and engaging with the public. Anti-social or criminal behaviour should not be tolerated," Mikaere said.
She said police had not been called in relation to any specific activity witnessed via the security camera.