CRESWICK’S first community police meeting will move to quell the community’s fears after the latest crime statistics showed a spike in the number of thefts in the area.
Hepburn Shire Councillor Don Henderson said the meeting would help gauge what the community wanted and explain to them how police were responding to crimes in the area.
A recent campaign, spearheaded by Liberal politician Louise Staley, called for a 24 hour police presence in the area.
Cr Henderson said that model was not sustainable – however the forum would ensure residents knew what police were doing.
Police said Wednesday’s meeting is a direct response to community concerns and will focus on crime prevention. Locals are hoping for more.
“The purpose of the meeting is for the local community and police to be able to speak to see what can be done about police response to crime in the area,” Cr Henderson said.
“The major concern of residents seems to be security.
“If you look behind that, there is a drug problem (in Creswick). Some of the theft is opportunistic, but a more prominent cause is alcohol and other drugs.”
Ballan police Senior Constable Mark Dunne will present at the meeting.
“Properties in rural towns have been easy targets for thieves as they offer a smorgasbord of chainsaws, power tools, motor bikes and trailers providing a temptation worth hundreds of dollars,” Senior Constable Dunne said.
Resident Bruce Kronberger was shocked when thieves entered an adjoining property to his and hooked his rare car to a trailer. The resident, whose quick-thinking wife jumped in the car to prevent thieves from taking off, remains skeptical of the meeting.
“I don’t think it will have a real outcome … I think it is about boots on the ground,” Mr Kronberger said.
Mr Kronberger acknowledged he had noticed an increased police presence recently, particularly under cover police. The meeting is at the neighbourhood house on Wednesday at 6pm.
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