BREAK-and-enter offences and harassment, threatening behaviour and private nuisance are the top priorities for Tamworth’s Crime Prevention Working Group over the next four years.
A draft four-year crime prevention working group plan was presented to Tuesday night’s council meeting and formally adopted by councillors.
Yesterday it was placed on public exhibition for comment from members of the public.
The top two priorities were identified after the group reviewed Bureau of Crime Statistics figures for the Tamworth local government area over the past 24 months.
The report presented to council showed break-and-enter offences in the region increased 41.6 per cent in the 24 months to September 2012, when compared to the rest of the state, where the number of offences remained stable.
While harassment, threatening behaviour and private nuisance offences were the fourth most frequent occurring offence in the BOCSAR figures, the report suggested the group felt the fact the number of offences placed in the category was increasing was a concern.
Crime Prevention Working Group chairman Cr Russell Webb said he felt it was likely the programs and projects implemented to address harassment offences would impact on the group’s other two target crime areas – malicious damage to property and non-domestic assaults.
He said for that reason the group had chosen to target harassment before property damage and non-domestic assaults.
“Obviously our programs and projects will not be confined to the areas in the plan,” Cr Webb said.
“But they do give us a good template that works in line with what the Attorney-General’s Department expects and that in turn will enable us to seek appropriate state funding for the strategies we want to implement.”
Councillors Phil Betts and Juanita Wilson, who are also part of the group, expressed their support of the plan.
Cr Betts said the plan wasn’t the be all and end all, but it would put the group in a good place to push their agenda and toughen their stance in certain areas of crime.
Cr Wilson said she hoped now the plan was there for everyone to see that people would be willing to think outside the box.
“I think there also needs to be a message there that if you offend and then re-offend, you will be held to account,” she said.
To try and help drive down break-and-enter offences, the group has suggested working with police, Housing NSW, Homes North and other service organisations to reduce the opportunity for crimes to occur.
Tamworth Regional Council, Joblink Plus, Juvenile Justice, police, the PCYC, representatives from the Education Department, Hunter New England Health and numerous other organisations would be approached to help reduce harassment and threatening behaviours.
A 13-step action plan has been devised outlining how the group hopes to achieve its goals between now and 2016.
The plan is on exhibition at Ray Walsh House for public comment until April 12.