CLOSED-circuit television (CCTV) cameras could be installed in the central business districts of Kurri Kurri and Cessnock under a Cessnock City Council crime prevention plan aimed at tackling malicious property damage.
Councillors have been asked to endorse the draft three-year plan and a funding application to the federal Attorney-General's Department.
The application is for about $265,000 to cover the installation of the cameras as well as an assessment of both the best locations and the ongoing maintenance cost.
A report to councillors ahead of their Wednesday meeting said crime data from NSW Police and the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research showed the Kurri Kurri and Cessnock CBDs were the area's "crime hotspots", with malicious damage to property, such as smashed shop windows and broken public infrastructure, listed as the main problem.
Bureau statistics accessed by The Herald showed Cessnock had a rate of 1721.2 malicious property damage incidents per 100,000 head of population in 2007, compared with the NSW rate of 1577.2, ranking it 64th out of the 143 councils for the crime.
The council report said a community petition of 134 signatures in favour of CCTV was lodged with the council last June, and businesses had also told of "substantial" costs of property damage.
Under the draft plan, the council would undertake a study of the limits and benefits of CCTV and the ongoing costs of the cameras, and, with NSW Police, undertake a community safety audit of the CBD areas.
The report said the program would cost the council $108,500 over three years.
The application for the separate cost of the cameras was lodged before councillors had endorsed it so as not to miss the deadline for the federal crime prevention and community safety funding program, which was unlikely to be offered again.
The council plan also includes education strategies, and an aim to increase late-night transport options, which would help reduce alcohol-related damage.