Gar­den project helps cut crime

Geraldton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - Tamra Carr

We thought, we can’t keep go­ing the way we were go­ing, with a high num­ber of ju­ve­niles in cus­tody. Sergeant Chris Martin

Mullewa Po­lice Sta­tion recorded a 60 per cent re­duc­tion in crime dur­ing the build­ing of a new gar­den, con­firm­ing Sergeant Chris Martin’s view that com­mu­nity pro­jects are the key to re­duc­ing of­fend­ing.

The com­mu­nity gar­den, of­fi­cially opened last week, was built be­tween March and Septem­ber.

In that pe­riod, there was one bur­glary, and one case of steal­ing and prop­erty dam­age. In the same pe­riod last year there were 20 bur­glar­ies, six cases of steal­ing and 18 cases of prop­erty dam­age. Sgt Martin said the results spoke for them­selves.

“This is some­thing I’m extremely proud of,” the of­fi­cer-in-charge said.

“Crime has re­duced sig­nif­i­cantly.

“We thought, we can’t keep go­ing the way we were go­ing, with a high num­ber of ju­ve­niles in cus­tody.

“Chil­dren aren’t born as of­fend­ers but they do end up in that cy­cle. “We hope to con­tinue to en­gage and di­vert, re­duce crime and also re­duce vic­tims too.”

The com­mu­nity gar­den is in front of Mullewa Po­lice Sta­tion and fea­tures a NAIDOC-in­spired fire pit, a wa­ter­wise flower bed and an out­door cin­ema.

Sgt Martin said the gar­den should con­tinue to re­verse trends of of­fend­ing in sum­mer by pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment for chil­dren, a com­mu­nity meet­ing spot and a place for res­i­dents to talk with po­lice in a friend­lier en­vi­ron­ment.

Var­i­ous com­mu­nity mem­bers con­trib­uted to the gar­den’s con­struc­tion, which in­cluded use of an aban­doned car and trailer, 15 traf­fic signs due to be scrapped, two un­used lamp­posts con­verted to flag poles as well as many other dis­carded items.

Sgt Martin said the gar­den came at no fi­nan­cial cost to the com­mu­nity.

About 250 peo­ple at­tended the open­ing last week.

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