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The role of an open-space CCTV system in limiting alcohol-related assault injuries in a late-night entertainment precinct in a tropical Queensland city, Australia
  1. Shane Pointing,
  2. Charmaine Hayes-Jonkers,
  3. India Bohanna,
  4. Alan Clough
  1. James Cook University, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Science, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Shane Pointing, James Cook University, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Science, PO Box 6811, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia; boris.pointing{at}


Closed circuit television (CCTV) systems which incorporate real-time communication links between camera room operators and on-the-ground security may limit injuries resulting from alcohol-related assault. This pilot study examined CCTV footage and operator records of security responses for two periods totalling 22 days in 2010–2011 when 30 alcohol-related assaults were recorded. Semistructured discussions were conducted with camera room operators during 18 h of observation. Camera operators were proactive, efficiently directing street security to assault incidents. The system intervened in 40% (n=12) of alcohol-related assaults, limiting possible injury. This included three incidents judged as potentially preventable. A further five (17%) assault incidents were also judged as potentially preventable, while 43% (n=13) happened too quickly for intervention. Case studies describe security intervention in each category. Further research is recommended, particularly to evaluate the effects on preventing injuries through targeted awareness training to improve responsiveness and enhance the preventative capacity of similar CCTV systems.

  • Alcohol
  • violence
  • policy
  • community research
  • urban
  • behaviour change
  • public health
  • epidemiology

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  • Funding Cairns Regional Council.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval James Cook University Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data was obtained from Cairns Regional Councils CCTV system database.