“We are an education program to provide people with access to information. On our website we provide links to crime data.
“We still have the same message to get across – that is that people need to take responsibility for their own safety.”
Beryl Hodges has been a member of Neighbourhood Watch for more than 20 years.
“I lived in Sebastopol and we had no Neighbourhood Watch in our area. Someone went around with a petition to start a Neighbourhood Watch,” Ms Hodges said.
“We thought it would be a great way to look out for one another and report crime.
“It has changed a lot particularly in the last five years.”
Crime in Ballarat has spiked recently with data showing a steep increase in the number of theft offences, theft from motor vehicle offences and arson.
Statistics released in March showed youth crime in Ballarat was at its highest rate in at least five years, with the number of alleged incidents involving young males increasing by 159 since 2014.
Males aged 15-17 years were involved in 60 per cent of all alleged youth offences from October 2014 to September 2015.
Data released last month also showed a 128 per cent increase in the number of arson offences over a 12-month period.
“Our volunteer base are available to assist Victoria Police to facilitate the education of the wider community about crime prevention strategies and target hardening,” Leading Senior Constable Walker said.
“Our volunteers now say they have never felt more valuable at any stage in their involvement in Neighbourhood Watch.”
Some key education programs include operation safe plate during which volunteers fit number plates with safety-screws that prevent stolen number plate thefts.
Given the surging number of stolen number plates and motor vehicles that are then in turn used to commit other crimes, the operation is increasingly important.
Neighbourhood Watch is recruiting for the volunteer base and seeking individuals in the community that have various different skill sets to assist with crime prevention programs.
They are looking for volunteers for the Community Support Register that have basic computer skills and a good telephone manner. The Community Support Register operates Monday to Friday from 9.30am till 12.30pm and our office space is a comfortable central location in Ballarat.
Enquiries regarding volunteering for the Ballarat & District Community Support Register or the Neighbourhood Watch Program Ballarat should be directed to Leading Senior Constable Walker on 0429 004 073.
Our volunteer base are available to assist Victoria Police to facilitate the education of the wider community about crime prevention strategies and target hardening.- Leading Senior Constable Janine Walker
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