Community members must understand their role in preventing crime in their neighbourhood, police say.
Neighbourhood Watch Australasia is urging residents to understand their responsibility when it comes to crime prevention by reporting crime, locking doors and ensuring general safety.
The organisation celebrates its first Neighbourhood Watch Week this week – with the Ballarat group holding a public event.
“Our main message is for residents to become part of Neighbourhood Watch and learn how to prevent crime,” convener Leading Senior Constable Janine Walker said.
Latest crime data shows the city experienced a 16 per cent hike in overall theft offences in the past financial year, with arson increasing 64 per cent and burglary 9.8 per cent. Police have repeatedly linked these crimes – saying offenders steal cars to commit other crimes and then burn them in bush land areas to hide incriminating evidence.
“The community need to understand that they need to take action – that they can really have a role in crime prevention,” Leading Senior Constable Walker said.
NHWA has launched a series of new pamphlets depicting scenarios showing people what would invite an offender and would would deter an offender. The campaign is urging residents to contact police if they witness any suspicious behaviour.
“When people see something it is vital to make a phone call – particularly if police have publicised that they are looking for a specific offender,” Leading Senior Constable Walker said.
“(Ballarat’s crime rate) is relative to the rest of the state. Crimes are carried out everywhere. What we need to focus on is how we are going to curb crime.
“The community need to understand that they have the power to minimise their chance of becoming victims. That there are measures that they can put in place.”
Neighbourhood Watch are continually involved in community awareness campaign and recently handed out more than 800 one-way safety screws to motorists are railway stations.
Leading Senior Constable Walker said the proactive campaign was aimed at raising awareness of what residents could do to reduce theft in an area that had sen a higher number of number plate thefts recently.
- Neighbourhood Watch will be at Lucas from 10am-3pm on Thursday.