Cars are being broken into, stolen and torched at an alarming rate, forcing one frustrated woman to band together with others in an effort to end this disturbing crime trend.
This week Debbie Thornton put a call-out on Facebook to form a group to monitor and report on crime.
People all over the city will be asked to contact police when cars are stolen – in the same way neighbourhood watch groups did years ago.
So far, 43 people have stepped forward to express their concern over the problem that’s occupying so much police time.
Talking to a lot of kids in general about what they’re into – music and sport, and we should engage them.Debbie Thornton
Remarkably, nearly 40 of those volunteers are women.
Ms Thornton stressed she isn’t the leader of the group but rather a facilitator, bringing together different community organisations, concerned citizens, law enforcement and the troublemakers themselves to collaborate and work towards a solution.
Ms Thornton said it was a complex problem and admits she’s not the first person to tackle the issue.
“A lot of people have been trying to fix it for years, and that takes a lot of courage – more than I have,” she said.
She decried “keyboard warriors” who had suggested violence as a solution, condemning that line of thinking.
She’d like to see perpetrators meet with elders – not just indigenous – as well as implementing a ‘big brother’ or mentor program to help re-integrate troublemakers, but stressed that engaging them was crucial.
“A lot of them are so sad, so depressed, stressed and they don’t have the tools to do anything else about it,” she said.
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“A lot of [the crime] is from peer pressure, people going off the rails and drag others off the rails.
“Talking to a lot of kids in general about what they’re into – music and sport, and we should engage them.”
She said something needed to be done now.
“It’s escalated. If we don’t do something it will keep escalating.”
Records kept by the Central Western Daily suggest there have been nearly 20 cars stolen and torched so far this year.
This week Central West Police District Detective Inspector Bruce Grassick confirmed a task force had been set up and was looking into the theft and burning of cars in Orange.
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