A new plan involving as much as $250,000 worth of projects over four years to combat Strathfield’s street crime has gone on public exhibition.
Among the ideas are “crime watch walking groups”, which would see locals populate crime hot spots.
Another suggestion promotes the idea of residents holding community events, such as barbecues, in high-crime locations to deter street crime and promote a sense of community.
Strathfield Council’s 43-page draft prevention strategy for 2011-14 outlines a series of measures to tackle the high rate of crime, particularly street robberies around Strathfield railway station.
The council says while not all of the anti-crime schemes will go ahead, the strategy does underline the importance of community engagement programs.
The Attorney-General’s Department has given the municipality a grant to research new surveillance cameras and more street lighting.
Figures show that for the 12 months to June 2010 Strathfield ranks first in the state for stealing from a person.
Of the 256 incidents that took place in the inner west, which takes in
six councils, 45 per cent happened in the Strathfield LGA.
Strathfield station has been identified as the area’s main crime hotspot. Most robberies on the streets of Strathfield involve distracted commuters using portable devices such as iPhones.
The draft report has three main planks: a Keeping Safe and Thinking Smart program; public lighting; and stronger community engagement.
“The Keeping Safe and Thinking Smart program is about engaging with the community and to make sure they feel safe,” says council’s community safety officer Jacob Stewart. “It’s about letting people know about the issues so they don’t feel like victims in their own area.”
The council will work with EnergyAustralia on a $20,000 plan to improve lighting in hot spots identified by police. A further $6000 will be used for signage around crime spots such as commuter car parks and pedestrian areas to raise awareness of personal safety.
Stewart says he will work on community engagement programs to improve awareness among residents, businesses and schools in the area.
Nearby councils are also in the picture because “crime doesn’t stop at our border”, Stewart says.
Other partners include the police, EnergyAustralia, the State Transit Authority and various consulates.
The report also suggests offering personal safety educational sessions as well as training to equip small business owners to deter hold-ups and better protect their property and employees.