Crime at its worst in 15 years

SINCE former school teacher John Tracey signed up for Neighbourhood Watch 15 years ago, he has never seen crime in Hervey Bay as bad as it is now.

“There is something going on,” the Scarness resident and block co-ordinator for the group says.

“Sometimes a bit of bad blood comes into an area but I haven’t seen it as bad as it is now.

“I think it’s the way society is going, particularly with assaults on people.”

He was further alarmed by new statistics given to the Neighbourhood Watch group for the Scarness-Pialba area by the group’s police liaison officer.

Almost 60 incidents were recorded for the block, which reaches from East Street to Oleander Avenue and from Denmans Camp Road to Main Street.

The incidents included 14 thefts, 12 burglaries after break-ins, two assaults and six possessions of dangerous drugs.

“It startled me a little bit.”

Mr Tracey was prompted to include the hit list in the Neighbourhood Watch group’s latest newsletter before distributing it to 300 homes last week.

Along with the perennial call for more residents to get involved with the group, he also urged victims of crime to report every incident.

“A lot of people will not report it because they don’t think it’s any use. But there is a use to reporting because every stat recorded is an argument for an extra police body here. Reporting it is very important.”

Neighbourhood Watch has operated in the Bay since 1989 with nine groups active at its peak. There are about five groups active now, Mr Tracey estimates.

Through the years Neighbourhood Watch has branched out to inform residents about ATM scams and internet crime, but its raison d’être remains largely unchanged.

“We’re an awareness body.

“But basically it’s about looking after each other and keeping crime away in so doing.

“Being able to trust your neighbour is the crux of the issue.”

About 30 block co-ordinators are in the 1200-house area covered by the Hervey Bay 1 group.

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