Otago University to crack down on crime

Most Otago students live close to the University, and are used to CCTV's watchful eye around campus.

But now the University of Otago wants to extend its reach, with plans to install 60 new cameras around North Dunedin over the next two years.

Deputy Proctor Andrew Ferguson says it's a crack-down on crime.

"We've seen in recent years an increase in non-student offending around the campus, and this is an effort to make our campus safer for our students and the community."

The University already has 400 cameras monitoring the campus. Their new electronic eyes would be installed in two stages: to the north and south of the University this year, and extending up to Dunedin's main street in 2018.

Students have mixed views on whether the plans would breach their privacy, one saying it would depend where they're situated and how close they are to houses.

Another says that just because they attend university, that doesn't mean they want everything they do captured on camera.

Critic editor Joe Higham was at the meeting where the details were leaked, and says the jury's out on whether CCTV cameras reduce crime.

"The [Dunedin City Council] and the University are clear that it does. But independent reports don't necessarily back that up."

Otago University Students' Association president Hugh Baird says they'll put the question to students at a referendum this month.

"Hopefully if there are concerns which keep coming back, hopefully the University will be able to listen to us and take those onboard and be able to mitigate some of those concerns."

Police say they support the use of CCTV cameras, and regularly use footage to assist in solving crimes. But, they warn care needs to be taken about how that footage is used.