Leuven installs cameras to fight crime
10 August 2005
BRUSSELS — The city of Leuven has installed surveillance cameras on the Old Market square and in the Mechelsestraat to combat worsening street crime.
The camera system must be fully operation before the music festival Marktrock descends upon the Flemish city this weekend, newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ reported.
Mayor Louis Tobback and police chief Hugo Michiels unveiled the new security system to the Belgian media on Wednesday.
Michiels said the cameras were a response to the rising number of thefts and violent crimes committed on the Old Market.
In 2004, these crimes increased by 12.7 percent to 275 incidents and 35 percent to 104 respectively. The crimes are primarily committed between midnight and 4am.
In de Mechelsestraat, there have also been several spectacular robberies committed in retail stores in recent years.
Authorities hope the cameras will act as a deterrent. Tobback said studies in Britain — where surveillance cameras have been in use for some time — have indicated that the scheme has a positive effect.
If the cameras succeed in reducing the crime rate, they will also be installed in the shopping area of Diestsestraat.
The footage recorded will be retained for a week, but a video can be retained for a longer period if required for criminal inquiries.
The privacy commission will supervise the system, as will the police supervisory authority Committee P, the local police supervisory body and three city council members.
Leuven’s surveillance camera system is Belgium’s largest and most advanced and is being supplied by the firm Telindus for EUR 800,000.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news