CRIME FIGHTER: Crime Stoppers Lockyer Valley Area Committee vice-chairperson Greg Steffens installs anti-theft number plate screws as part of a Crime Stoppers initiative to stop the theft of number plates in the region.
CRIME FIGHTER: Crime Stoppers Lockyer Valley Area Committee vice-chairperson Greg Steffens installs anti-theft number plate screws as part of a Crime Stoppers initiative to stop the theft of number plates in the region. Meg Bolton

Crime fighting won't stop after call centre closure

IT'S business as usual for Crime Stoppers.

That's the message the Lockyer Valley Area Committee is sending to the community after the charity's call centre was forced to close earlier this month due to a funding shortfall.

The area committee consists of a group of volunteers who give up their time to raise funds for the Crime Stoppers rewards program and liaise with community members, businesses and police to better deal with crime in the region.

Lockyer Valley Area Committee treasurer Janice Holstein said the closure of the Crime Stoppers call centre would not affect the committee's work.

Unlike other states, Queensland since 2015 had its own dedicated Crime Stoppers call centre staffed by 20 full-time employees and 45 volunteers.

Before that, calls were received and dealt with through the Queensland Police Service.

However, after four years of operating, the centre closed this month and the service transferred back to the QPS.

Ms Holstein said the change would mean very little for the public and the Crime Stoppers number was still operating.

"It does not affect anybody in the street who wants to report to Crime Stoppers,” Ms Holstein said.

"People will still be anonymous when they call.

"Calls will still not be recorded and all information will go to the police, as it did through Crime Stoppers.”

Ms Holstein said she was disappointed more financial support was not forthcoming, as the funding shortfall was estimated as only $250,000.

"It was a new venture for Crime Stoppers Queensland to be seen as more independent,” she said.

"I think the state could have helped out.

"However, the board of directors obviously had to make a business decision.”

Committee vice-chairman Greg Steffens was also unimpressed by the closure but said the show would go on.

"It's disappointing, but it's not the be all and end all of Crime Stoppers - we're still here,” Mr Steffens said.

Ms Holstein said in addition to the tip line, Crime Stoppers was heavily involved in the community and this important work was here to stay.

"It's about doing initiatives that help raise awareness in the community,” she said.

Both she and Mr Steffens encouraged anyone in the community with an interest in keeping their area safe to join or volunteer with the committee.

Anyone wishing to get involved is encouraged to phone Greg Steffens on 0438 623 051.

Turning screws on plate theft

In A bid to turn the screws on crime, the Crime Stoppers Lockyer Valley Area Committee spent Saturday morning fitting anti-theft screws to residents' vehicles.

Sponsored by AutoPro Gatton, the area committee sold the anti-theft screws at a discounted price and installed them.

Anti-theft or one-way screws are designed to stop a potential thief from removing numberplates, often to use the plates on another vehicle to commit crime.

Once the one-way screws are installed, they require a special technique to remove them and most thieves will simply move on to an easier target.

Committee vice-chairman Greg Steffens said the event had been a success, with 30 cars in the Lockyer Valley fitted with anti-theft screws.

He said the program would be ongoing. "This is the start of something. I will be pushing in certain areas, maybe some of the car shows.”

Gatton police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Rowland Browne said the simple product was an important tool for both the public and police.

"These screws will make it harder for offenders to steal your numberplates and so play an important role in preventing crime and making criminal activity more difficult,” Sen-Sgt Browne said.

"I commend our local Crime Stoppers committee for this initiative.”

Costing just $5 on the day, half the funds raised went towards the area committee's fundraising for the Crime Stoppers rewards program.

Committee publicity officer and treasurer Janice Holstein said the event was another example of Crime Stoppers working with businesses and the community to prevent crime before it even occurred.

"It's just one small way of getting people aware that it is an issue,” Ms Holstein said.

"That's just one of many things that Crime Stoppers does in the community.”



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