Policing and Community Safety
Noel Coxall / Prof David James AO
Desley Beechey, Angela Carey, Dean Cinque, Stephen Elder, Ian Fry, Ross Haby, Cr Des Hudson, Jeremy Johnson, Tennille McLauchlan
The Ballarat region has one of the highest incidences of crime in Victoria outside the Melbourne CBD as shown by the 2004-2005 Victoria Police crime statistics (albeit reducing slightly in recent years.) The Committee contends this correlates with a police force that is significantly under-resourced. The Ballarat community demands a much higher level of police presence to meet community safety needs and expectations.
Law and order underpins all progressive communities of which Ballarat claims to be one. To enable a lawful and orderly community, a well-resourced, trained and equipped police force is required to meet community needs.
Crime is costly to communities, both on an economic and social level.
To secure an increase in the level of Ballarat’s policing resources to contribute to a safer Ballarat community.
To achieve a situation where Ballarat can confidently promote itself as a safe and progressive community for new residents and visitors.
To reduce the economic and social cost of crime to the Ballarat community.
Outcomes (reported April 2007)
While the major project objective of securing 12 Equivalent Full-Time police personnel was not explicitly achieved, the State Government’s establishment of a crime desk was acknowledged by senior police officials as making a significant positive difference to the region’s crime rates. As a result, Ballarat has been in a better position to promote itself as a safe and progressive community.
The task team strongly encouraged improved communication with the community as a means of reducing concerns over crime levels. We believe there is increased community satisfaction with police performance and improved communication between
the community and police.
Through the Safe City committee, including active participation from Committee for Ballarat, a number of other initiatives has been possible including:
> an increased number of Closed-Circuit Televisions (CCTV) in CBD hot spots
> the establishment of a Hoon Hotline in Ballarat
> a 3am lockout for CBD night spots
> safer taxi ranks in the CBD
We anticipate there will be an ongoing impact, evident in a continued decline in the crime rate and a continued improvement in communication. We applaud the Safe City committee for their ongoing work and commitment to this important issue.