Cairns retirement village first to launch Neighbourhood Watch group
"OUR Village, Our Lifestyle, Our Watch'' will be the slogan of a groundbreaking new Neighbourhood Watch scheme to be launched in Cairns next month.
Residents of Earlville retirement village Aveo The Parks have decided to take crime prevention into their own hands and will become the prototype Village Watch the first of its kind in Queensland when it is launched in the city on December 17.
Village manager Jenny Ball, who will co-ordinate the group, said it came about because residents wanted to have a greater community voice and more say in their security after various crime issues in the area.
"It was done to be proactive in looking after the safety of the village, particularly because residents can be seen as being vulnerable,'' she said.
"It's a chance to have a collective voice with the State Government or Cairns Regional Council, rather than just writing them individual letters about an issue.
"The residents are really excited about it. It's a chance for them to feel proactive and that they're doing something rather than just being victims of crime.''
Village Watch will be modelled on the successful Neighbourhood Watch program, which has enjoyed a recent boom in the city following the launch in May of the Join The Watch campaign, a joint venture between Cairns Police and The Cairns Post.
A new group has been launched at Palm Cove recently and Clifton Beach is expected to follow within the next few weeks.
Twenty residents in the retirement community of 185 have nominated to be part of the inaugural committee with senior police and local political figures set to attend the launch.
Cairns MP Gavin King said it was an initiative he hoped would spread across the state.
"Once we've evaluated how it goes over a few months it could be rolled out across the state and that's what I'll be pushing for in parliament,'' he said.
Sen-Constable Heidi Marek of Cairns police said it had been prompted partly by several break-ins around the suburb, but was being driven by a chance to have a greater community stake.
"Essentially it's about taking ownership of the village back and getting together as a community as a collective voice,'' she said.
"Through this they can get politicians to attend meetings and this makes them more answerable to members of the community.''
For more details, visit police.qld.gov.au/programs/nhwq/
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Taking back the village: Sen-Constable Heidi Marek.