Positive Tickets reward youngsters

HELPING to rescue a kitten earned Jesse Rogers the first ticket handed out in a pilot program aimed to reduce youth-related crime and encourage good behaviour on the Fraser Coast.

For the next three months, police and Fraser Coast Regional Council compliance officers will hand out gift vouchers to young people they catch doing the right thing.

The Positive Ticketing Program is based on a Canadian scheme, that Maryborough businessman Clay Clayton discovered on the internet, where youth-related crime dropped 60 per cent in two years.

Point Vernon jobseeker Jesse Rogers, 18, didn't expect to be rewarded for stopping at 10pm one night to help council compliance officer Sally Cripps rescue a kitten that had hidden in the engine compartment of her car.

“I think what the police are doing is something good,” he said, after receiving his positive ticket and a $20 voucher to spend at Rush Surf or Street ‘N' Beach.

Acts such as wearing a bike helmet, helping police with enquiries, volunteer work, using a skateboard park instead of public footpaths or helping an elderly person could be rewarded with one of 100 $20 vouchers being handed out around Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Tiaro and Howard.

Mr Clayton said he would like to see the program expanded to offer vouchers for movies, entry to the pool, food and other products that would motivate young people.

The hotel owner suggested the idea after seeing 12 and 13-year-old children on the streets at 1 o'clock in the morning hanging around outside hotels, asking for cigarettes and committing vandalism.

Council youth development officer Sue Lawler said she hoped the program would build better relationships with police, decrease crime and help young people feel more engaged and appreciated by the community.

Ms Lawler said if the results of the three-month trial show it had been successful, they would seek funding to continue the program.

The initiative is supported by the Maryborough and Hervey Bay Safety Networks and Building Safe Communities Action Team.

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