By Victoria Police Wyndham Local Area Commander, Acting Inspector Steve Hayes
I’d like to start by wishing the community of Wyndham a happy new year and hope everyone had some quality time spent with family and friends of the Xmas and holiday period.
As we enter the new year we again find ourselves in a challenging environment as a community looking to balance the ongoing health risks posed by COVID-19 with the strong desire we all have to somewhat get on with business and enjoying some of the freedoms we cherish most.
In the role of Local Area Commander for Wyndham myself and my team of dedicated officers are committed to ensuring the community of Wyndham are able to get back to work, school, socialising, playing sport and doing the things the love in as safe a way as possible. A big focus for us this year is getting back into the community and engaging with residents and key partners to work together in tackling the key community safety priorities that are important to us all.
We will be forming a Local Community Safety Committee in partnership with Wyndham council with representatives from the community, local organisations and partner agencies to listen to community needs and concerns and tackle community safety in holistic manner with a partnership approach. It is an exciting opportunity which I very much look forward to. We will be focusing on higher risk community locations, at risk groups of the community and targeting the underlying drivers of crime whilst targeting and holding recidivist offenders to account.
Whilst we will be doing our part and holding ourselves accountable in keeping the community safe I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone about some simple measures that can be taken to in crease your personal and home safety.
Particularly as we know many of you have recently headed back into the office for work or will be out of home more frequently. We understand the concern regarding home burglaries, it can be a very traumatic experience for anyone who is a victim of this crime. In particular should this occur whilst you are home.
Most home burglaries are often opportunistic, with thieves trying to enter homes without being detected and avoiding confrontation. Put simply most crooks are not terribly smart and will simply look for what they see an ‘easy target’.
When heading out of your home or turning in for the night, there are a number of very basic steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of burglary:
• Install good quality locks on doors and windows. Alarms are also a good deterrent.
• Lock all windows and doors – unlocked garage, side and rear doors are the most common entry point for burglars.
• Remove valuable items from plain sight – particularly car keys, wallets and cash.
• Consider additional security measures such as security screen doors, sensor lights, a monitored alarm system and overt CCTV.
• If you’re a pet lover consider getting a dog that will alert you to any potential intruders or suspicious persons
• Importantly – report any and all suspicious behaviour to police via Crime Stoppers, PAL or 000 where it’s in progress
In addition to securing your home, it’s important you take measures to keep yourself and your property safe when out walking or travelling on public transport or in your private vehicle.
Simple steps you can take to prevent becoming the victim of person or property crime:
Stay Alert – be to suspicious persons & always keep one ear free when wearing headphones
Keep it Light – only take what is needed with you for the occasion
Hold it Tight – keep bags on your lap and not next to you or on the floor & keep your valuables secured on your person
Keep it Out of Sight – Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle (especially not visible) & keep bags zipped and valuables out of sight in public transport and in shopping centres
For those interested in learning more ways you can build a safer home, head to www.howsafeismyplace.com.au and also sign up to one of your local Neighbourhood Watch Victoria groups to connect with your neighbours and build a safer community. There are many local groups in our community, including Tarneit, Tarneit Central, Point Cook Central, Salt Water, Manor Lakes and Jubilee.
Finally, and most importantly, it’s crucial that all suspicious behaviour or incidents of criminal activity are reported to police.
• In an emergency, always call Triple Zero (000) for an immediate police attendance.
• If you have been the victim of a theft or come home and find your home has been burgled, this can be reported to the Police Assistance Line by calling 131 444, or through Online Reporting at www.police.vic.gov.au
• If you witness suspicious activity, please report this to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or by visiting crimestoppersvic.com.au
Warmest Regards from your Local Area Commander – Steve Hayes