More than 700 people have found themselves locked up by police – because of the borough’s CCTV camera network.
Figures released by South Tyneside Council reveal 1,366 incidents were caught on camera between March 2012 and February 2013.
Of those, cameras captured on film 14 missing people, 14 people acting indecently, 110 assaults or robberies, six burglaries and 249 offences of theft and shoplifting.
The footage led to 723 arrests being made by police.
Today, council and police chiefs praised the toll the borough’s 191 cameras – which include those operated by Nexus, Hebburn shops and Tedco Industrial estate – play in helping to track down those who break the law.
There is a team of 20 CCTV operators – with four at all times – monitoring cameras over any 24-hour period.
The figures have been released as part of the Lighter Nights campaign to remind people thinking about breaking the law with their anti-social ways that their actions could be caught on camera and used as evidence against them.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “The high number of arrests being made due to using footage as evidence, just shows that we won’t tolerate this kind of behaviour in South Tyneside, and that we are catching more and more people who are responsible for crimes in the borough.”
The Lighter Nights campaign is a joint venture between Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes. The initiative is in response to an increase in anti-social behaviour and arsons as the lighter nights arrive.
Chief Inspector Brian Walker, from South Tyneside Area Command, said: “CCTV is a useful tool in both crime prevention and detection. It has led to many arrests and convictions. CCTV systems also provide major reassurance to communities who welcome the idea of them monitoring incidents in their neighbourhoods.
“We have a good relationship with the borough’s CCTV operators and will continue to work closely with them in our joint aim to keep crime and disorder at a low across South Tyneside.”
Coun Dixon said: “The effective use of CCTV cameras throughout the borough is continuing to prove beneficial in keeping people safe in their local communities.
“Our skilled CCTV team works closely with a variety of dedicated partnership organisations and people.”