Grass­roots pledge tack­les crime hotspots

Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - WES HOSKING

PO­LICE will stage town hall­style meet­ings in crime-hit ar­eas across Vic­to­ria in a backto-ba­sics ef­fort to make the streets safer and al­lay angst.

The events — six to be held be­fore the end of the year — will be used to gather in­tel­li­gence from res­i­dents on prob­lems in their area.

Po­lice will de­tail lo­cal crime trends and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on how to avoid be­com­ing a vic­tim.

Tailored crime-fight­ing projects will be de­vel­oped and “rel­e­vant and ac­cu­rate” crime data pro­vided as part of the $5.6 mil­lion ini­tia­tive.

The projects will op­er­ate through the es­tab­lish­ment of 12 com­mu­nity-run net­works to in­clude res­i­dents, coun­cils and lo­cal groups.

The net­work roll­out will run over two years, start­ing this year in Wyn­d­ham in Melbourne’s west, along with Mel­ton, Whit­tle­sea, Car­dinia, La­trobe and Bal­larat.

Brim­bank, Dan­de­nong, Frankston, Knox, Shep­par­ton and Gee­long will fol­low from July next year.

“For peo­ple to feel safe in their homes and on the streets, we know that it’s cru­cial to have a good re­la­tion­ship be­tween po­lice and peo­ple in the lo­cal com­mu­nity,” Po­lice Min- is­ter Lisa Neville told the Sun­day Her­ald Sun.

But Op­po­si­tion po­lice spokesman Ed­ward O’Dono­hue said more money was needed for crime preven­tion.

“It’s more im­por­tant than ever to work with com­mu­ni­ty­based or­gan­i­sa­tions to tackle the crime wave con­fronting Vic­to­ria,’’ he said.

Se­nior Vic­to­ria Po­lice and Depart­ment of Jus­tice staff will over­see the net­works.

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