East Cannington night walkers helping deter thieves

Steve Parris (left), Ernie Gaspar and Geoff Martin with his kelpie Tara patrol East Cannington streets at night. Picture: Emma Geary
Steve Parris (left), Ernie Gaspar and Geoff Martin with his kelpie Tara patrol East Cannington streets at night. Picture: Emma Geary

A GROUP of East Cannington men are doing night patrols of their suburb to help make the local community safe.

Local resident Geoff Martin started the group a year ago with the aim of stemming a spate of thieving taking place in East Cannington.

Mr Martin put a call out to a community WhatsApp group asking locals to meet and discuss ways to improve safety in the area.

As a result, a group formed with locals walking the streets at all hours of the night on the look-out for criminal activity.

“People were breaking into cars. There were a lot of opportunity-thieves. Some were smashing windows and taking things. It just seemed to get worse and it was time something changed,” Mr Martin said.

“The police were called and they made a bit of a difference. We decided we needed to start up as a community to keep each other safe and that is how the meetings came about.”

Mr Martin is a shift worker at Perth airport. He said he sometimes got home at 2am and would take a walk around the neighbourhood before sleeping.

“I put it out on WhatsApp that I’m going for a walk and does anyone want to come,” he said.

He said when members discovered broken streetlights and debris in public spaces, they reported it to the City of Canning.

“If we see anything suspicious we will report it to police. It sends a message to would-be thieves – you mess around in our suburb and we will be there,” he said.

Mr Martin said the group was looking at creating a phone app that locals could use to inform group members of trouble in their area.

He had encouraged residents to download an app that linked to emergency services, SES, 000 and police in case of trouble.

He said in the past six months he had |noticed a decline in anti-social incidents in the area.

“If people come into the suburb intending to do something wrong and they see you walking around at all different hours, they think twice about coming back,” he said.

Mr Martin said East Cannington was a strong community and a recent neighbourhood gathering attracting 74 residents.

“We have ethnic diversity here, we have elderly people, we have young people,” he said.

“We want to know that if our kids want to get on their bikes and scooters and meet their friends at the park that they are going to be safe. We want our elderly people to be able to walk the streets and know that they will be safe.

“When people feel safe and secure in their neighbourhood they will get out and about and that is what is happening.”

A police spokeswoman said local police were unaware of the group.

She recommended the public not engage with an offender or confront someone acting suspiciously but contact police on 000 or 131 444.

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