As Australia steps up efforts to tackle crime and check attacks on foreign students, particularly Indians, police in Victoria state have positioned a van mounted with closed circuit television (CCTV) in a Melbourne suburb that has witnessed several such incidents.
The number of crimes being committed against Indians in the last two months, mainly in the western suburbs, has alarmed the police and the federal government. At least 19 students have been assaulted in Australia since May 9.
The CCTV van can be driven around the streets or remain stationary at a particular hotspot, and has five cameras on the rooftop to continously record live footage, said the police.
Maribyrnong Inspector Ian Geddes said the purpose of the van in Footscray was not only to deter people from committing crimes, but also to help assist police with gathering information and identifying offenders.
"It will help with the later identification of suspects for criminal offences and also of people who may be wanted or are breaching their bail conditions," he said.
"In addition to police already working on the street, we hope the van will act as a strong deterrent to open drug dealing and anti-social behaviour."
The van has been used in the city and over the summer months at Hobsons Bay.
The van will be used on a regular basis throughout the western suburbs, and will be driven and manned by trained police personnel.
With almost 35,000 Indian students studying in Victoria alone, the suburbs have increasingly turned unsafe for them with a good number of attacks on migrant youth.
Footscray, St Albans and Sunshine are trouble hot-spots, with police increasing their presence at train stations to curb the violence.