Home invasions, youth crime and family violence have been identified as the major safety concerns among Wyndham residents in the first of three anti-crime forums held in the area.
About 50 people from a range of community, school and youth groups attended the inaugural forum held at Encore Events Centre on Wednesday night, where they were asked to air their concerns, identify crime issues and offer up potential solutions.
Acting Superintendent Marty Allison said the state government had allocated $50,000 to initiate some of the community safety projects that will arise from the three forums.
“The purpose … is to help Victoria Police understand the concerns of the community,” he said.
Issues identified at the forum included:
•Homes being broken into repeatedly;
•Large groups of teens hanging around shopping centres and parks, especially at night;
•Safety around public transport, including females not feeling safe on public transport at night, and cars getting broken into at train station carparks during the day;
•Local parks being vandalised and used for anti-social activities;
•Calls to Werribee police station going unanswered, and not enough police to respond in a timely manner; and
•The need for strengthened partnerships in the community between police and community groups, and for residents to get to know their neighbours and look out for one another.
Wyndham is one of six Victorian municipalities selected for the Community Safety Networks project, which will be expanded to other areas in July next year.
Two more forums will be held in Wyndham before Christmas – one on December 7 at Wayaperri House in Werribee, and another on December 13 at Point Cook Secondary College. Residents can also identify issues in an online survey.
Acting Superintendent Allison said the forums built on other community engagement measures Wyndham police had undertaken this year, which included regular Coffee with a Cop sessions and deploying a mobile police van each Wednesday to different activity centres.
He said the current Werribee police station was “bursting at the seams” and needed portables to operate, but that the new $45 million police station, which will open in three years’ time, will have enough space for 500 police.
He said in addition to the 32 new police coming to Wyndham in coming months, more are on the horizon.