Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts says she hopes to have surveillance cameras installed insome parts ofher citynext year in a pilot project, noting they have beenused successfullyby British authorities to target street crime.

The mayor held the first in a series of public meetings Monday night to detail her new crime-reduction strategy, which includes the closed-circuit cameras.

She says the cameras would be mounted at SkyTrain stations and some public parks identified as high-crime areas, and would operate 24 hours a day.

The mayor sayscamerasin the U.K. havereduced crime there by as much as 35 per cent.

"If you're in an area where crimes are being committed on a consistent basis as one of the hot spots, you have the ability of looking at what's going on at a street level, so you can allocate your resources to where they need to be allocated."

Mixed reaction to camera plan

Surrey RCMP spokesman Cpl. Roger Morrow says closed-circuit surveillance cameras set up by some private businesses have been helpful in identifying and catching criminals

ButJason Gratl of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association remains unconvinced that the plan solves the root problems of drug- and alcohol-fuelled crime.

"Rather, the open drug trafficking just shifts down the street not protected by cameras, and requires the installation of yet another camera. The U.K. example shows it's quite an ineffective and expensive manner of attempting to control crime."

B.C.'s privacy commissioner, David Loukidelis, says he's not opposed to cameras as long as a strict set of guidelines is in place for their use. He cites one example in London in whichprivate surveillance images ended up on the internet.