South Cairns Community Safety: Neighbourhood Watch, PoliceLink and Useful Numbers!
Support your local Neighbourhood Watch
In the wake of Good Neighbour Day on March 25th, hosted by Trinity Park NHW, it is worth reiterating the value of community spirit amongst the population. The threat of crime is always a cause for concern amongst local residents.
However, the presence and maintenance of a neighbourhood watch is a source of reassurance for people. With the closure of the Forest Gardens branch, only Edmonton, White Rock and Woree remain in south Cairns.
With the Easter holidays almost upon us, it is important to maintain home security, especially if the residents are going on holiday. If a home is vulnerable to intruders while the occupiers are away, then a neighbourhood watch can prove to be invaluable.
There are some practical tips a home owner can follow to help avoid unwanted visitors during the Easter break. Alerting neighbours that you will be away is very important. Making sure the house is secure and cancelling delivers are also priorities before leaving on a vacation. There is lots of excellent advice on security, local activity and police tips at the Neighbourhood Watch Woree website.
It is vital that residents are vigilant in their reporting of crime to Policelink on 131 444. Policelink is available 24 hours, 7 days a week and is the new number in Queensland to make general enquiries and report non-urgent incidents including: wilful property damage, stealing offences, break and enters, stolen vehicles, and lost property.
Calls to Policelink 131 444 are charged at the local call rate with mobile call costs varying dependant on your service provider. Calling Policelink can make all the difference when a crime is committed in your community. The more times an incident is reported, the more chance it will be noticed as a trend in the police link database. The important local emergency phone numbers for south Cairns are listed below.
The police have responded to local crime by stating that their ‘Operation Colossal’, over the past seven months, has led to 313 offenders have been charged with a total of 15,404 charges. This initiative was introduced in order to target repeat juvenile offenders or ‘ringleaders’ and put them behind bars. One example of the success was the recent arrest of two boys, aged 14 and 15, caught over a burglary and vehicle theft from a home Capricorn Street, Bentley Park. However, the police also pointed out that there is always another criminal to take their place, so locals “should always lock up homes and vehicles to deter break-ins”; cold comfort for residents and especially for landlords when the time comes to compare landlords insurance.
The Cairns District NHW newsletter is compiled by Senior Constable Heidi Marek from the Cairns District Crime Prevention Unit. The newsletter is full of important advice, contacts and information for anyone interested in neighbourhood security, whether you are a local resident with concerns or an area coordinator looking for specific details.
A worrying statistic in the Neighbourhood Watch Woree newsletter stated that the number of attendees at the NHW Woree meetings has seen only 1 or 2 residents recently, with October to February seeing no attendance. Area Coordinator, Alwin Koo, revealed that NHW Woree cannot continue to operate much longer with residents not willing to spend an hour to listen or address their concerns. So please, if you can spare the time, support your neighbourhood watch.
STOP PRESS: Tuesday’s meeting saw increased attendance in response to community concerns (well done Woree).
Starting a group
A neighbourhood watch group can bring the community together and provide support for those either in fear of crime or the actual victims of crime. Neighbourhood Watch Queensland declare that forming an effective group depends on locals being prepared to engaging people in their street, bringing people in their neighbourhood together and building peoples’ sense of belonging to their community. With the support of neighbours, businesses, community groups and the local police, a safer environment can be achieved for all.
Important Phone Numbers:
Cairns Police: 4030 7000
Edmonton Police: 4045 9111
Police Link: 131 444
State Emergency Service: 132 500
Lifeline: 131 114
Cairns Regional Domestic
Violence Service: 4033 6100
Centacare: 4044 0130
Department of Housing: 4039 8822
Victims Counselling &
Support Services: 1300 139 703