Residents planning to keep watch

THE community has seized ownership of the crime woes at Park Beach and that’s a terrific start says Andrew Fraser.

The member for Coffs Harbour, who organised Tuesday night’s public forum, will now approach communities across the Coffs Coast to set up neighbourhood watch.

“The fact police said (at the meeting) they only had 11 notifications over the past 12 months of graffiti and the like at Park Beach says we need a more pro-active response from the community to support the work of police,” Mr Fraser said.

Mr Fraser said a neighbourhood watch network with backing from the community and business owners should be set up to work with police and the city council.

“The problems being experienced at Park Beach are, unfortunately, not unique to the area. Problems have also been experienced in Sawtell, Sandy Beach, Korora, Emerald Beach, Woolgoolga and west Coffs Harbour.

“I intend to contact the chambers of commerce in Sawtell and Woolgoolga to suggest the establishment of neighbour watch in these areas.

“I would like to commend the suggestion from the president of the (Coffs Harbour) Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Peter Lubans, to set up a ‘graffiti busters’ similar to the one already established in Forster.

“A large number of people indicated they would be willing to donate time to such a proposal and I will also be writing to the State Government to see if there is any funding for this purpose.”

Mr Fraser said the meeting acknowledged a problem with graffiti, alcohol and drugs which had resulted in law and order issues at Park Beach.

“Lighting, closing off the laneways, a greater police presence, better laws and parental responsibility were all solutions that were suggested in the meeting.

“It is a community problem and police find it hard to act because of the age of the offenders and a lack of parental supervision.

“Additionally, police numbers need to be increased and that is another issue I will continue to raise with the Minister for Police.”

Mr Fraser said the 200-strong crowd which packed into Park Beach Bowling Club was probably four or five times the number he had expected.

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