Give us back our streets: residents

Safety on the streets of Ellenbrook has emerged as a major public concern.
Safety on the streets of Ellenbrook has emerged as a major public concern.

It comes after recent community feedback to the City revealed safety on the streets as the highest area of importance for many residents.

The latest statistics from WA Police for the East Metropolitan Region show the number of offences committed by direct physical harm or force being applied to another person is now the third largest category for police work, trailing theft and property damage.

There have been more than 200 offences against the person each month across the region from July of last year until the end of May (the latest figures available).

At a meeting on September 25, councillors approved the Community Safety Plan (2013-17) and put it out for public comment for one month.

Its release followed months of extensive consultation where the City heard from more than 140 community representatives at 10 community workshops, as well as conducting an online survey on its website.

Four key priority areas are identified in the plan as the focus for improving safety across the City of Swan.

They include:

– Measures to detect and deter crime;

– Measures to address the underlying causes of crime;

– Addressing safety issues related to personal and community responsibility in local neighbourhoods;

– And increased co-ordination and responsiveness of agencies to address community safety issues.

Among other key objectives, the plan calls for the council to back the community’s call for a greater police presence across the region, in particular in hotspots, such as shopping precincts after dark.

A key argument given by residents for better City crime detection and deterrent programs are a perceived increase in the incidence of anti-social behaviour, drunkenness and public nuisance, graffiti damage and drug abuse in public places.

To compensate for a perceived limitation of street patrols and police responsiveness, residents favoured increasing CCTV surveillance in crime hotspots, such as public parks and facilities.

The City’s community safety business unit will have primary responsibility for monitoring and reviewing the plan, which will be implemented through the development of an annual action plan.

A summary of the plan’s achievements will be presented to the council each year and posted on its website.

To view a full copy of the Community Safety Plan (2013-17), go to www.tinyurl. com/ogfskhw.