More than 35 residents from Gumdale, Wakerley and surrounding suburbs attended a crime mobile office hosted by Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, and State Member for Chatsworth, Steve Minnikin, at Wakerley Park on Saturday morning.

The crime mobile office gave local residents the opportunity to share their crime and safety concerns with local police officers. Senior Sergeant Mark Norrish and Senior Sergeant Tony Brown from Wynnum Police Station answered attendees’ questions on local crime and police presence in the area.

“It’s good to get an idea of crime in our neighbourhood. Locals have been telling me about break-ins around this area, so I decided to hold this mobile office to give them the chance to air their concerns to local police and find out how they can protect themselves,” Mr Vasta said.

Mr Minnikin said it was important everyone felt safe in their homes and knew what they could do to keep their property secure.

“Residents received valuable information on what they can do at home; meanwhile Mr Vasta, the police and I were also able to hear firsthand the biggest concerns of our community,” Mr Minnikin said.

“Having an open communication line between residents, local police, Mr Vasta and myself means we can all work together to keep our community safe.”

Wakerley resident Leanne Swadling said she moved into the area in 2016 and had already experienced three attempted break-ins.

“It’s terrifying. I’ve got three young kids at home. I’ve come today to find out what’s going on and hear from police what they have to say,” Ms Swadling said.

Manly resident Tracey da Costa shared similar concerns, saying there had been break-ins in every second house of her street.

“There’s a feeling of absolute vulnerability. We had the Wakerley shooting the other week, and my daughter’s school was locked down because of an intruder. I couldn’t get to her. 

“Sometimes when my husband’s away from home, I sleep with a nine iron. I just want to know what can we do to make things safer?”

Senior Sergeant Tony Brown, who is currently in charge of Wynnum Station, said generally speaking crime in the area is on the way down.

“In the case of clusters of break-ins, our detectives are doing a good job. Nine out of ten cases are solved,” Snr Sgt Brown said.

When asked if Wynnum Station was a 24 hour police station, Snr Sgt Brown said the station opened according to demand.

“There are rarely walk-ins between 10pm and 6am, so we didn’t see a need for the station to be open 24/7. We would rather have officers out on the road where they’re needed rather than sitting behind a desk. We still have police cars deployed all throughout the night,” he said.

Gumdale resident Jan Evans said she attended the crime mobile office to thank officers for their consistent patrols in the neighbourhood.

“I hear police cars regularly doing the rounds in the middle of the night. It gives me peace of mind,” Ms Evans said.

“One time I went out at 3am in my car. I came back to the house to check if the garage door was locked. An officer stopped me to see what I was up to—he thought I was breaking into my house! It really gives me a sense of security that police are out there on the job looking out for residents.”

Wakerley resident Michael Norris said it was good of Mr Vasta to be out in the community listening to people’s concerns.

“I’ve had no problems with crime so far, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I like to see how proactive police are being,” Mr Norris said.

Senior Sergeant Mark Norrish said people from outside the area were coming into the neighbourhood looking to commit break-ins.

“Wynnum Police is on them time and time again. We mobilise and do a good job, and that’s thanks to public input,” Snr Sgt Norrish said.

Mr Vasta said Wynnum police were doing an outstanding job and that they needed support from locals to keep crime down.

“I encourage you to connect with police and connect with us. Steve and I will be doing everything we can to help you,” Mr Vasta said.

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Local residents from the bayside and Gumdale-Wakerley areas joined officers from Wynnum Police, as well as volunteers from Crime Stoppers and Volunteers in Policing, at Coffee with a Cop hosted by Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, in Manly West last Saturday.

Coffee with a Cop gave members of the community an opportunity to get to know their local police officers, discuss with them their experiences with crime, and seek advice on protecting their homes and properties from lawbreakers.

“I have received a fair amount of feedback from my constituents on local crime and safety. It’s a particularly vital issue for residents in the Gumdale-Wakerley area,” Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta said.

“This Coffee with a Cop was designed to start a conversation on crime in the area, and allow residents and local law enforcement to share their ideas on how to reduce and deter crime in the neighbourhood.”

Mr Vasta said the main issues of concern in the area were break-and-enters and hooning.

“It was great to see so many people taking the time to discuss local crime and help make our community safer,” Mr Vasta said.

“I will be using feedback from this Coffee with a Cop to develop a community-based program aimed at reducing crime and making the bayside and Gumdale-Wakerley neighbourhoods safer for everyone.”

“I will also be hosting more Coffee with a Cop sessions elsewhere in Bonner later this year, so stay tuned.”

Mr Vasta encouraged members of the public to complete his online Community Safety Survey at https://rossvasta.com.au/Surveys/CommunitySafetySurvey.aspx.

He also thanked members of Volunteers in Policing for offering free security assessments for homes and businesses in the area, and encouraged locals to contact Wynnum Police Station for more information.

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Today I would like to speak on crime, an issue of growing concern in my electorate of Bonner. I have been receiving a fair amount of feedback from my constituents on local crime and safety. It is a particularly vital issue for residents in the Gumdale-Wakerley area. I would like to update the House on what I have been doing to address reports of crime in and around the suburbs and how locals can get involved to help tackle this problem.

Crime in the community can have a devastating impact, and I am not just talking about financial losses. Crime can also take a significant mental toll on its victims. Recently I heard from a constituent who lived in Wakerley for over 35 years. She told me that she used to be able to walk about in the neighbourhood without fear; but now, she says, most nights she is too afraid to go out alone. Her story and others like it have really touched me. It is important to feel safe and secure in our own homes and our own neighbourhoods. That is why this month I am launching a new campaign to identify crime and safety hotspots in the Gumdale-Wakerley area. This campaign will also give residents an opportunity to discuss crime with local law enforcement.

Earlier this month, I sent out a community safety survey to residents in the Gumdale-Wakerley area. This survey is helping me gauge how people feel about local crime levels, and how safe they feel in their community. It is also letting me know people's personal experiences with crime and their thoughts on the level of police protection in the area. I thank my constituents who have taken the time to complete and return my community safety survey. I have already had lots of great feedback and suggestions on what actions would be most helpful in alleviating crime in and around the Gumdale-Wakerley area.

Recently, I met with officers from the Wynnum Manly police station to discuss residents' concerns and a range of possible measures to reduce and deter crime in the Gumdale-Wakerley area. Since that meeting, Acting Senior Sergeant Carolyn Cox has graciously agreed to join me for a Coffee With a Cop event at Gloria Jeans Mayfair Village in Manly West next month. On Saturday 3 June from 10 o'clock to 11 o'clock, locals will be able to sit down with Sergeant Cox and Senior Constable Sharon Collins to share their thoughts on crime in the area, and they can ask any questions they may have on this important issue.

I am proud to be the sponsor of this neighbourhood safety initiative, and I thank local police and residents for their help in getting this crime campaign off the ground. I look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to ensure that everyone in our community is kept safe from crime.

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