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Community Safety

Community Crime Prevention Program

In  late 2013, we were successful in obtaining a Graffiti Prevention and Removal Grant from the Department of Justice to lead on a graffiti project “Graffiti – everyone’s business” centered around the Watsonia Shopping Centre.

This project, undertaken in 2014, aimed to reduce the amount of graffiti, improve the visual amenity of the area, reduce negative perceptions around personal and community safety and provide sustainable practices for better future graffiti management.

Highlighting a very collaborative process between the community and ourselves, the project officer was supported by a steering group made up of the Watsonia Traders Association, Neighbourhood Watch, Watsonia Neighbourhood House, Banyule Youth Services, Victoria Police, and other interested community members.

The project outcomes included the removal of old graffiti, the painting of a mural on the timberyard wall in Watsonia Road, training, access to portable removal units and better information about reporting and responding to graffiti.

Videos about the project can be found below:

We acknowledge the Victorian Government in funding this project.

Safer Banyule Plan 2012-2016

Purpose

The Safer Banyule Plan 2012–2016 provides a framework for us to promote and support community safety and amenity. It identifies and coordinates strategic activities addressing crime prevention and community safety issues in the municipality.

Community safety covers broad areas such as crime, injuries and accidents, poor family relationships and lack of support, drug and alcohol use and related behaviours, poor physical environment, unstable housing and social exclusion.

The community generally have a personal interest in maintaining or improving community safety at some level.

The underlying strategies look at safer design and reducing the opportunity for offending and at a social level, addressing the underlying and often complex issues related to crime and victimisation.

Family Violence has been a rising issue state wide in recent years. Statistics do not relate the gravity of the issue, since many incidents in the community are not reported. The ABS (ABS 1996, 2005) identified that from the age of 15, only 19 per cent of women who experience physical violence report the incident to the police.

Through ongoing consultations with the Youth Sector, we also know that young people are less likely to report physical, verbal or sexual assault.

Community safety is addressed at different levels of government with different focus areas such as social connectedness, education and employment pathways, human rights, safe design of physical spaces, crime prevention and reducing disadvantage, all which may directly or indirectly improve community safety.

Goals

The goals to achieve a safer Banyule with a focus on:

Coordination: Ensure a partnership approach to crime prevention initiatives and coordination of effective service delivery to prevent issues before they occur.

  • Continue to work with partners in the community
  • Provide early intervention opportunities for youth offenders
  • Coordinate Council’s service delivery when responding to safety issues in “hot spot” areas
  • Facilitation of resolution to safety issues
  • Coordination of services to Prevent Violence against Women and their children
  • Increase awareness of violence against women issues
  • Develop an evaluation framework to measure effectiveness of the Safer Banyule Plan.

People: Ensure there are measures of intervention for those more at risk of crime, recognising some people have greater fear of crime in Banyule than the real risk, and work to improve their sense of safety.

  • Support people who have higher levels of fear in the community
  • Provide training to improve community’s sense of safety
  • Build Council capacity to raise awareness of the issue through the WRAT
  • Build internal Council capacity
  • Support aged and disability services to promote rights for elders
  • Provide education and information on harm minimisation particularly for “safe partying”

Places: Ensure public places are well designed and maintained so that it is appealing for the community and lessens the chance of opportunistic crime.

  • Encourage safer environments on public transport and public transport stations
  • Work in partnership to ensure coordinated response to safety issues in “hot spot” areas
  • Ensure safe design in public spaces

Crime: Ensure a crime prevention focus is maintained at Council level and in partnership with key stakeholders, with a focus on emerging and common crime.

  • Raise awareness of common crimes and prevention strategies
  • Implementation of a revised Graffiti Management Strategy

Benefits

Implementing the Safer Banyule Plan aims to provide many benefits to the community and Council, including:

  • Strong partnership approach to responding to community safety issues, crime prevention measures and early intervention programs
  • People feel safe in public in Banyule
  • People are able to self-manage in threatening situations
  • Increased community awareness of Elder abuse
  • Young people are aware of personal safety
  • Increase prevention of common crimes
  • Idea approach to graffiti management.

Early Intervention Program (formerly Back Up)

The Youth Support Service (YSS) is an early intervention program run by Youth Substance Abuse Services (YSAS)

This is a new program designed to intervene early and divert young people away from the youth justice system by addressing the underlying causes of their offending and risk taking behaviour.

The target group for the YSS is young people aged from 10 to 17 years who are at risk of becoming involved in, or are in the early stages of involvement with youth justice (that is, those young people not subject to a statutory court order)

The YSS is cost free, confidential and voluntary.

Banyule Police are actively involved in referring young people into the program. A Memorandum of Understanding has been drafted between Police and Council to ensure that the program is delivered effectively.

For more information, contact our Community Safety Officer on 9490 4222.

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