COMMUNITY safety in Bowen has drastically improved in the past five years, but Glenroi remains as bad as ever, according to an independent police audit of the two suburbs and the central business district.
Poor street lighting and hazardous laneways were singled out as key concerns for both areas, but the poor state of the “unsafe” Kurim shops needed to be resolved as a matter of urgency, the audit said.
Police from another command spent two days in the areas with members of the Community Safety and Crime Prevention committee last December, following up on recommendations from an audit in 2007.
Canobolas Local Area Command Superintendent David Driver said the audit was about the perception of fear of crime rather than crime statistics.
He disagreed with suggestions Glenroi had remained unchanged, but said Bowen was ahead when it came to improvements to social cohesion.
“A lot of changes were implemented in Bowen first ... [but] are happening in Glenroi now,” he said.
The committee’s chair, councillor Glenn Taylor said it was now up to the council to deal with the realities of its budget when choosing how to prioritise the suggestions.
But he said they would work with Housing NSW and may approach member for Orange Andrew Gee to find out what funding was available.
“I hate to think [the audit] will sit and gather dust,” he said.
“We need to get proactive.”
Cr Taylor said improvements to Bowen were a result of the community’s work, but Glenroi remained a concern.
The audit team was surprised by the positive changes in Bowen with general maintenance above average and the only concern being the poorly lit, overgrown and graffitied laneways.
The considered the area to be safe during the day but there was reluctance to assess the area at night because of the lack of lighting.
The crime risk in Glenroi was considered to be high, according to the audit, and there was no evidence of any chance since the previous audit.
In the CBD Summer Street was considered well lit and maintained but the lighting from Byng and Kite Street onwards was “so low that personal safety would be questionable”, despite the high level of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, the audit said.
There was a medium crime risk in the CBD during the day but it was higher at night particularly Friday and Saturday because of the licensed venues.
The owner of the Kurim shops could not be reached for comment.