Community groups across Orange have backed calls for a resurgent neighbourhood watch proposed by Debbie Thornton this week.
Ms Thornton had about 40 people who responded to a call-out for people to watch over their streets and be in contact with each other and police.
Bowen Residents’ Action Group’s Paula Townsend said she was “very interested” and said she’d been trying to get something similar happening for some time.
“I believe the neighbourhood watch is the best way to do it. Years ago they did [have one], nowadays people seem to think ‘it’s not my problem’,” she said.
You see or hear people doing the wrong thing and you pull them up and make them take responsibility for it, you tell the family and the police.Paula Townsend
“If everyone looked out for everyone else Orange would be a better place … If you were going to steal a car and you knew that people were keeping watch you wouldn’t do it.
“Due to social media it looks a lot worse than it is – it is bad, but it looks worse.”
However, Mrs Townsend said in previous years when hot-spots flared up, damage was limited to one area such as Bowen or Glenroi, but it was now all over the city.
The proposal to extend community engagement with perpetrators of crime was met with warm enthusiasm by Mrs Townsend, who has been doing exactly that in Bowen for over a decade.
“You see or hear people doing the wrong thing and you pull them up and make them take responsibility for it, you tell the family and the police,” she said.
She said troublemakers – especially teenagers – confronting the damage of their crimes was often enough for them to take responsibility.
Reflecting the comments made by Ms Thornton on Thursday, Mrs Townsend said those online suggesting vigilante justice weren’t helping and would “just inflame the situation”.
It was a sentiment shared by Glenroi Community Group’s Joe Maric, who said he thought the idea of reviving a neighbourhood watch group had merit.
He’s spoken with Ms Thornton and said her thoughts on engaging with troubled youth with sporting activities and music is the one of the right ways to go about fixing Orange’s problem with crime.
More police numbers are according to Mr Maric, who said “Glenroi is copping the brunt of police under-staffing”.
However, the Glenroi Community Group were planning to hold a community consultation in the coming months to engage residents to find a solution.
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