Have your say about neighbourhood watch

Trevor Hoole is a passionate resident. You only have to listen to the comments and the work he does on community facebook page, he Goondiwindi Notice Board to appreciate that.

He’s now  hit a nerve with residents on a new poll he’s conducting.

“I have lived in this Great Town all of my life and have the greatest respect for our Local Police Force who do their very best day in and day out to protect us and our belongings,” he wrote.

“With the latest crime spree has the time come for a Local Neighborhood Watch group as they now have in Moree NSW.… ?”

We’d urge you pop over and have your say.

At present it is very much in favour of forming a community watchdog group.

Comments include this from Shontelle Barron.

“It might not put a stop to it (Local crime), but hopefully it can help the situation. Residents of Bogga and Toomelah are kept up all hours of the night with stolen cars and motorbikes driving past their houses.

“I'm scared that one day, those that keep stealing our belongings are going to end up injuring someone. It's not just Gundy that needs the help, it's Bogga and T Toomelah as well.”

And this from Jessie Michelle: I do neighbourhood watch in Moree, and its been great!  Still out of hand. And lots are out-of-towners. But the community is coming together and taking a stand. We are spreading a strong message that we won’t sit back any longer. We might not stop everything, but you’d be surprised how much we have managed to stop. How many families haven’t lost everything due to us driving past and notifying police of suspicious behaviour or them seeing us and running off. Cant hurt right?

Moree Champion reporter, Sophie Harris wrote this story yesterday on the group’s success.

The Moree Mobile Neighbourhood Watch group has been conducting nightly street patrols for seven weeks now and there’s no sign of them stopping anytime soon.

Coordinator Chris Binge said the past seven weeks have been hugely successful, with the men noticing a reduction in anti-social behaviour over this time.

“Overall it’s been going really well,” he said.

“Things have lessened. From an anti-social behaviour point of view, you can see some drops in certain areas, for example the motorbikes seem to have dropped off; police are doing a great job in finding bikes or confiscating bikes that are stolen or a nuisance.

“We have received comments from all sectors of the community in regard to how peaceful it’s been in the community recently, particularly in the last three or four weeks.”

Throughout the seven weeks, the Moree Mobile Neighbourhood Watch group has identified and reported various crimes that they’ve witnessed, as well as helped to deter some crime from happening in the first place.

The men have also successfully identified some of the people involved in break and enters, drugs, illegal motorbike use, and other forms of anti-social behaviour.

“We’ve identified some suspicious behaviour from individuals that’s been a concern,” Mr Binge said.

“Even when we’re out and about in the early hours, we’ve seen some suspicious people that may have been looking to commit crime and we’ve made ourselves noticeable which has deterred some of the crime.

“We’re not saying we’ve stopped it but we’ve been a deterrent to crime happening.

“We’re also pulling up and talking to people and making people aware of what we’re doing.

“It’s about creating safety out in the community.”

It seems that many people are beginning to feel safer, with the Neighbourhood Watch group receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community.

The group even won the Moree Thumbs Up Thumbs Down customer service recognition award for May. 

With the nightly patrols and rostering now down pat, the men plan to move on to the next stage of the Neighbourhood Watch program, which involves educating the community about being more safety aware within their own home and neighbourhood.

“If everyone in the street is Neighbourhood Watch aware, there’s less of a chance of that petty crime or break and enters occurring,” Mr Binge said.

“We’ve got plans to have a stall at the next markets where we can do question and answer sessions with the community. Men that are doing the patrols can answer questions that people have or provide information about what we’re doing.

“We’re making sure we get as much info as we can together to take down there.”

The group also plan to meet with Moree Chamber of Commerce to educate businesses about better security.

They are also now looking for some more members to join the group and invite any men or women interested in creating a safer community to come along to their meetings, held at 5pm Mondays at Miyay Birray.

Mr Binge said it’s not a huge time commitment with most people only needing to do one shift (six hours maximum) a fortnight now.

“We’re always looking for more numbers – the more the better,” Mr Binge said. 

“It lessons the load on the people involved and allows us to do the job at a better level.

“The more people that are willing to put up their hands and be a part of this, the safer the community becomes, and the more cohesive we become.”