Stopping petty crims in tracks

A NEW front has opened up in the war against so-called minor crime on the Coffs Coast.

Criminals responsible for vandalism and other anti-social behaviour will now have to undergo rehabilitation under strict supervision in the community, thanks to laws now in force across NSW.

The initiative aims to stop petty criminals falling into a downward spiral of repeat offences and a life of crime.

New sentencing options are now in place for convicted criminals facing custodial terms of no more than two years.

Corrective Services Minister Phil Costa said intensive correction orders could last up to two years and would involve intense supervision, community service work and mandatory participation in rehabilitation and education programs.

“Offenders can be forced to wear electronic anklets, observe strict curfews, undergo regular drug testing and in some cases be prohibited from consuming any alcohol,” Mr Costa said.

The NSW Government State plan outlines a target to reduce re-offending by 10 per cent by 2016.

One of the best ways, however, to actively combat crime is for all of us to be vigilant.

Let's face it – wherever you live on the Coffs Coast, you are part of the community.

It might be a housing estate, a rural village, a block of flats, a suburban road or a resort by the sea.

It's easy to shrug off crime and assume it won't happen to you or that nothing can be done but the police need your help in crime prevention.

A police officer might not recognise someone in your garden as a stranger but your neighbour might.

It is this kind of awareness and willingness to help that was the basis of the successful Neighbourhood Watch of Home Watch programs.

While those initiatives appear to have fallen by the wayside, locally, in recent years, there's perhaps been no better time than now to resurrect them. Consider how much more confident you would feel if you knew that you and your neighbours were looking after each other's homes throughout the year.

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