VANDALS have sparked a seven-week surveillance blackout across part of the city after setting CCTV cameras alight.
Just two were targeted but the damage knocked out 11 cameras across Niddrie, Bingham and Craigmillar.
If this was in the middle of town or in Joppa they would be fixed in a matter of days or hours. This is yet another example how this area is forgotten by the authorities.Paul Nolan
The city council has installed a temporary camera on Niddrie Mains Road which can capture multiple angles to “assure continued surveillance”.
But the community is angry that the system was not more robust – and that the cameras remain down seven weeks after the attack.
Police were unable to confirm whether or not there had been a rise in crime across Niddrie, Bingham and Craigmillar following damage to the cameras because specific figures “do not exist”.
However Paul Nolan, chairman of the Craigmillar Trust, said residents had been left vulnerable to crime.
He said: “I remember when the city agreed to support CCTV and we were told by the council and the police that the cameras were virtually vandal-proof and now we find out that 11 cameras have not been working for seven weeks.
“All we are getting from the council is pathetic excuses for their failures. If this was in the middle of town or in Joppa they would be fixed in a matter of days or hours. This is yet another example how this area is forgotten by the authorities.
“The nights are getting lighter and motorbikes are racing about the streets. The answer to the problem is to sort the problem out.”
It is believed that the CCTV system was installed in 2002 at a cost of around quarter of a million pounds.
David Walker, Labour councillor for the Portobello and Craigmillar ward, said: “The cost of installing these cameras was substantial and not to have the benefit of them is very disappointing. When the cameras are active they are a great deterrent for crime and a great way of detecting criminal activity and bringing offenders to justice.
“There is a real difficulty in the area at the moment with fly-tipping and again the cameras are a good recourse to identify those individuals who are responsible. The presence of CCTV also gives people a sense of security.”
“It is disappointing to hear that all those cameras are not operating. This is certainly something I will take up with the council to see what can be done about it.”
The city council said it was currently addressing issues with cameras in the area and had made “temporary arrangements” in the meantime.
Police received two reports of vandalism to CCTV cameras in the Niddrie and Bingham areas on Friday, March 18.
The incidents on Marischal Gardens and Duddingston Road happened around 8pm and 8.15pm. Police appealed for anyone with any information on the vandalism to get in touch on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.