SECURITY guards, CCTV cameras, fines, and a redesign of the entire area could make the “scary” and “out of control” Post Office Lane safer, according to Orange City councillors.
In a submission to the council’s Community Strategic Plan, Canobolas Local Area Command Superintendent David Driver said assaults, drug interactions, and anti-social behaviour in the lane were a constant issue for police.
He said the only effective long-term solution to ongoing crime was to re-engineer or redevelop the lane.
“The thoroughfare could be amended to limit the opportunity for crime,” he said.
“[But] I can’t commit council funds, I’ve asked them to look at it.”
Deputy mayor Jeff Whitton said council would work with police and surrounding businesses to improve the “hot spot”.
“Once you get a submission from the commander you can’t ignore that,” he said.
Cr Whitton, who described Post Office Lane as scary and out of control at Thursday’s council meeting, said security guards and fines for anti-social behaviour were two options.
“We have a responsibility to make the CBD a safer environment for people to come down with their families,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback from the community that they don’t feel safe at certain times of the day and they try to avoid this area.”
Superintendent Driver said increased security could help but he was unsure how viable it would be for council.
Cr Whitton said CCTV cameras were another option but were only useful after the event and were no longer a deterrent for many.
A fake CCTV camera installed in the area in the past had since been stolen, he said.
Superintendent Driver said CCTV cameras do assist police but were only one tool in crime reduction.
“If they were the magic bullet they’d be everywhere,” he said.
Cr Whitton said another option was to transform the lane into a covered mall or arcade with entries into Myer allowing the area to be locked up at night.
Superintendent Driver said the situation had reached a peak at the end of last year with many incidents involving schoolchildren.
A change in school timetables had helped, he said.
Cr Reg Kidd suggested reinstating the Summary Offences Act could improve the situation.
Superintendent Driver said the police used a myriad of legislation and patrolled the area regularly.
“It’s a small geographic location in a pretty significant command,” he said.
“Police are required across the command, not just a 10 metre square part of the CBD.”