Community summit set to address local safety issues

Brendan Rees

A community safety summit is set to be held later this year which would bring together a range of groups, stakeholders, and authorities to address neighbourhood safety concerns.

The City of Melbourne-convened summit, which is expected to be held in August, was initiated after a Presidents of the Residents’ Groups meeting with the council on June 24.

While details of the summit have yet to be formally announced, it is understood the council will join residents’ and business groups across the municipality as well as Victoria Police and community stakeholders to improve community safety.

The summit builds on the Neighbourhood Policing model, which was launched by Victoria Police in April.

The “back-to-basics” approach which aims to work closely with the community has so far proven successful in understanding community concerns and addressing local safety issues., according to Leading Senior Constable Nick Parissis, the Neighbourhood Policing coordinator at Melbourne North Police Station.

“We get a lot of information from our residents; it’s quite forthcoming. Obviously, they let us know about their concerns and from that information we know where to target our patrols,” he said.

“We’re trying to work closer with the community and the residents and business groups to alleviate any concerns they have.”

“The whole objective of Neighbourhood Policing is engaging with the community, making sure we feedback anything we’ve got to the community.”

“We’re only as good as the information we receive from the community.”

LSC Parissis, a community liaison officer of 20 years in the Carlton and North Melbourne police service area, said issues of concern from the community included theft from cars, suspect loiterers, residential parcel thefts, and drug activity, which local police units were doing their best to keep on top of including regular proactive patrols.

He said simple steps such as removing items from display and locking vehicles significantly reduced the likelihood of theft. This included removing chargers which may entice opportunistic thieves to believe a phone, or other electronic devices may be inside a car.

In terms of parcel theft, he said this could be reduced by opting for a secure parcel drop off or seeking the help of a trusted neighbour.

LSC also urged community members to call Triple Zero if they saw any suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood.

“If they see something, we don’t mind if we turn up and it’s a false alarm. We would rather be called to something, and it turns out to be okay as opposed to not being called,” he said.

The City of Melbourne did not provide a response to North West City News on the safety summit by the July deadline.  •

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