Yeppoon Police Senior Sergeant Erin Shawcross discussed what Police are doing to combat crime on the Capricorn Coast
Yeppoon Police Senior Sergeant Erin Shawcross discussed what Police are doing to combat crime on the Capricorn Coast Trish Bowman

Crowd exceeds expectations at community crime/safety forum

ORGANISERS scrambled to find more chairs after almost 100 people arrived to attend the Community Safety Forum held at Yeppoon Town Hall on Thursday night.

Yeppoon police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Erin Shawcross said the event was a great opportunity to inform the community about how Yeppoon police and other services were tracking while offering a chance for people to highlight their suggestions and concerns.

"There have been a lot of social media posts and, to be honest, they are not always entirely accurate,” he said.

"This was a chance to verify what is correct and dismiss incorrect information.

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"We need to look at a collaborative approach to keep all members of our community and their property safe.”

Sen-Sgt Shawcross said the rise in juvenile crime across the Coast had many concerned.

"We know that the majority of juveniles committing these offences are aged between 10-14,” he said.

"We have about a dozen young people currently on court-imposed curfews that are generally from 6am-6pm. This means they are not permitted to be out of their homes outside those hours.

"Police do regular home checks to ensure the juveniles are there, which means that police can and do drop into the juvenile's premises and regardless of whether they are asleep or engaged in other activity, they must present at their front door to ensure compliance.

"We are working closely with Livingstone Shire Council to improve the safety of the area. Our 20 police officers and three detectives are all in possession of iPads that have the ability to offer information at a glace and can also monitor the CBD area in real time.

"Our data tells us that the incidence of property crime is now starting to level out but any level of property offence is of concern.

"We need to get the message out there that we can't be complacent. People need to be more vigilant in protecting their property, whether that be their home, business or their vehicle.

"We know from our statistics that many of the property-related offences are occurring due to people not securing their property. The message is ... lock it or lose it.”

Livingstone Acting Mayor Nigel Hutton said the council was working with police and were calling for a collaborative approach in response to crime of all descriptions.

"LSC are being proactive, not reactive, and are looking at holistic solutions and partnerships to combat this very real concern,” Cr Hutton said.

"Light and movement-sensitive CCTV has been installed throughout the Yeppoon CBD, with activity streamed directly to police in real time.

"We are working with Education Queensland to provide alternate learning spaces and opportunities to assist young people who are disengaged or in danger of disengaging from the education system.

"We have over 90 different services operating from our community centre in Yeppoon and Emu Park. We also formed the Capricorn Coast Safety Advisory Group to work together on solutions.”

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the numbers of participants at the forum demonstrated clearly that the Capricorn Coast community was serious about solving the issue of the rise in crime on the Coast.

"The forum offered businesses, residents and service providers the opportunity to make suggestions, look at the data and hear from Livingstone council and Yeppoon police about what steps have been taken to address this very real issue,” Ms Lauga said.

"Working together we can make a difference to improve crime and people's safety.”

The two-hour event included information from local mental health services, child safety, drug and alcohol, youth providers, rehabilitation and training bodies, Livingstone Shire Council and Yeppoon police, with a view to empowering the community to feel safer.

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