A group of 20 Moree men have decided enough is enough when it comes to the ongoing crime and anti-social behaviour that has been running rampant in the community.
Drugs, theft, break-ins, burnt-out cars, rock-throwing and unregistered motorbikes have been causing havoc in the community, and, rather than become part of the problem, the men have stepped up to help become a part of the solution.
On Monday, the Moree Men’s Group held their second meeting where they discussed a range of options that can be implemented to assist local police and state agencies in dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour.
As a result, the Moree Mobile Neighbourhood Watch group was established.
Moree Men’s Group spokesperson Chris Binge said it was a successful meeting with a good turn-up of men all interested in helping to create a safer community.
“Everyone was there for the right reasons and everyone that came [on Monday] had their own stories of what they’ve encountered or what their family members have experienced,” he said.
“Everyone’s looking for the same goal – what can we do as a community to support each other in a positive way?
“It’s about forming a group of people to start being vigilant about what’s happening and how we can start making change for the future.”
The group, which is made up of both indigenous and non-indigenous members, aims to encourage individual and community participation in preventing and reducing property crime and improving personal safety.
They have established a roster for night patrols, with 20 men willing to take turns to patrol the streets of Moree at nights to monitor what’s happening, attempt to identify those participating in crime and document what they see in the form of photos or videos in the hopes it can be used as evidence to enable police to prosecute.
“We will patrol our community and look at the not-so-good behaviour occuring and identify people doing the wrong thing,” Mr Binge said.
“If we take photos, videos, we’ll be handing it to the authorities to do their job.
“It’s about restoring some sort of order in our community so people can feel safer.”
We’re not security guards, we’re not police, we’re not superheroes, we’re just a concerned group of residents who want to make a positive difference in our community.Chris Binge
Mr Binge emphasised that this is not a vigilante group, rather concerned residents who have come together for the right reasons – to create a safe, cohesive community.
“We’re not security guards, we’re not police, we’re not superheroes, we’re just a concerned group of residents who want to make a positive difference in our community,” he said.
“We’re not going to go out and stop crime; if we see something happening that’s not appropriate, we’ll let the authorities know and hopefully we’ll get some action.
“We want to be vigilant but not vigilante.”
The group has the backing of Moree Plains Shire Council and the full support of mayor Katrina Humphries.
“This group is about the Moree community banding together for a common cause to say ‘enough is enough’ – we are all tired of the motorbikes at night, the drugs in town, the theft, the break-ins, the burnt-out cards and we, as a community, must make changes,” she said.
“The group has applied for membership to the official Neighbourhood Watch organisation, and will be uniformed, information gathering and lawful. They are going to support the police not hinder them.”
Cr Humphries said the establishment of the group is important because it comes from within the community.
“The members of the Moree Neighbourhood Watch are locals and know lots of the perpetrators; they live and love our town,” she said.
“If a community has a multi-pronged approach to crime remedy and works together for the future it has a better chance of success.”
Barwon Local Area Command is currently seeking further consultations with the Moree Neighbourhood Watch group and Moree Plains Shire Council.