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Community Safety

What is Community Safety?

Community safety aims to “increase the ability of people to go about daily life with little fear for their own safety, or of others” (Penrith City Council).

Safer communities are ones where all individuals make daily economic and social choices without the fear of becoming a victim of crime or of feeling unsafe.  Community safety tackles issues that are both real and perceived.

Given that both real and perceived fears can impact on the value of community life, community safety programs aim to provide individual communities with the ability to address their own safety concerns, using a number of innovative approaches.

Community safety is linked to a quality of life where the community live without fear or hindrance from crime.

What is Crime Prevention?

Crime Prevention is about reducing and preventing crime (and the fear of crime) including increasing police numbers and powers and imposing harsher penalties on people convicted of crimes.  However, responding to crime in a punitive and retributive manner has not been shown to significantly reduce or prevent crime.
The current trend is a move towards community based crime prevention that involves partnerships; with every relevant stakeholder given the opportunity to contribute and assist.

This page has been developed as a strategy to provide residents with information about community safety and crime prevention.

Reporting crimes

It is very important that all crimes are reported.  Correct information about how many and what types of crimes are occurring in the community assist Police to protect residents, visitors and businesses within our Local Government Area.

Police Assistance Line (PAL) – ph: 131 444
to report non-life threatening crime

Emergency Services – ph: 000
For life threatening situations or crimes in progress

Crime Stoppers – ph: 1800 333 000
To report criminal/suspicious behaviour anonymously

When you need to report a crime or suspicious behaviour to the police remember:

  • Try to be calm and speak clearly, take a few deep breaths if you have difficulty speaking.
  • Follow the operator’s instructions
  • Give your name, phone number and address
  • State the problem
  • Give the location and time of the incident
  • Give a description of the persons and vehicles involved.

Being the victim of crime is stressful and can be overwhelming.  The Police and telephone operators understand that you have suffered a shock and may have difficulty providing a report.  They will be sensitive to your situation and will assist you to report the incident (remember the Police are there to help you).

Emergency and community contact magnets are available from Community Development section, 1st Floor, Rigby House, Coffs Street, Coffs Harbour or can be mailed out to you.  Ph: 66 48 4041

Safety out and about

When we are travelling out and about you need to think personal safety so that you don’t become a victim by being robbed or having your bag snatched.  So this doesn’t happen to you please note the following tips.

How to prevent robbery, bag snatching and stealing

Do’s

Be alert and aware of your surroundings in public places like railway stations, parks and shopping centres.

Walk away if approached by someone asking for money, your mobile phone or a cigarette as this is a common contact used by potential offenders.

Always keep your bag closed and your valuables hidden.

Walk in well-lit areas and avoid walking alone.  If you feel that you are being followed walk towards crowded areas. If you feel unsafe, call Police on 000 (or 112 from mobile)

Always let someone know where you are going.

Don’ts

Don’t flaunt what you have (e.g mobile phone, money and other valuables)

Don’t carry weapons as they are illegal and may be used to hurt you.

Don’t carry a copy of your PIN number around with you.

Don’t leave valuables lying around.

Don’t fight back.  Your life is worth much more than your valuables.

Just as with robbery and stealing above, having your bag snatched is a crime but thieves use the element of surprise.  The risk can be reduced by observing the following:

  • Carry your bag close to your body preferably in front of you.  Don’t dangle it by your side or let it swing from your shoulder.
  • Don’t wrap the bag’s straps around your wrist.
  • Always keep the bag zipped up.
  • Keep cash and valuables you carry to a minimum.
  • Be alert.  At automatic teller machines be aware of people around you.  Put your money away as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t put your bag on top of your car when you’re loading things, or on counters or in shopping trolleys.
  • Do not mark house or car keys with an address.
  • When walking, stay away from the curb.  Many bag snatchers will lean out of their vehicle to grab at bag straps.

If you are robbed, have your bag snatched or your property stolen

Try to remain calm.

Get an accurate description of the person.  Try to remember details of the person’s appearance to aid police investigation e.g. clothing, height, hair and eye colour and anything else that stands out.  Try to remember as much as you can.

Cancel all the stolen items such as credit cards, mobile phone connections to prevent further losses.  Notify the bank immediately when cards are stolen.

Don’t be scared to report a crime – remember police are here to help you.

Council’s Crime Prevention and Safety Plan is currently under review.