Wyndham’s Community Safety Team will get a boost in numbers in the new year.
The team, which comprises a sergeant and three other police members, regularly conducts foot patrols and surveillance around some of Wyndham’s busiest locations, including Pacific Werribee, the Werribee CBD, Point Cook Town Centre and smaller shopping centres in Tarneit and Wyndham Vale.
It will receive two more members to its ranks early next year, allowing the team to expand its focus.
“That just means we can cover more of the day. At the moment, we can split into two groups of two … if we can push it to three cars and have three groups of two, we can maybe stagger our shifts and cover more of the day and be around from mid-morning to later at night,” Sergeant Damien O’Mahoney said.
Starting in 2015 as a temporary high-visibility operation, the team has become a permanent fixture in a bid to curb crime and antisocial behaviour.
Sergeant O’Mahoney said police had developed good relationships with shopping centre traders and security teams, and has been instrumental in driving down volume crime – including shop theft and theft from vehicles – and arresting people with outstanding warrants.
Most recently, the team arrested a Laverton man wanted for nine outstanding warrants regarding a number of thefts around the Melbourne metropolitan area.
“We’ve done some great work here at Pacific Werribee. When I first started, we had groups of young people congregating, especially out [around the Urban Diner precinct] and up at Timezone with no apparent reason and then committing street offences.
“We excluded them from the area, and it worked.”