Freo's View

CONFUSION ABOUT COMMUNITY SAFETY

 

There appears to have been a bit of miscommunication this morning when Fremantle traders were invited to a Community Safety Briefing, but when yet another speaker spoke about future social and housing solutions for homeless people, some in the public gallery became irate and wanted to express their concerns about antisocial behaviour, violence, shoplifting and begging. They were not very interested to hear about long term solutions, when they want immediate action.

One Market Street shopkeeper expressed that she feared she might have to stop trading because of the issues and that she herself might end up on the street, while others questioned the slow response time of police and Fremantle community safety officers, and asked if the number of officers dealing with these issues is adequate.

Mayor Brad Pettitt had said before the public interruption that one of the key issues was working together, while Minister Simone McGurk said a lot of resources were put in by Police in Fremantle and Perth CBD with a no tolerance approach to antisocial behaviour.

The state government were spending hundreds of millions of dollars on social housing and housing for homeless facilities, using the best evidence from around Australia and the world as a cornerstone for the government policy. It was important to provide permanent, instead of transitional, housing and that had very good outcomes.

The Senior Sergeant in charge of Fremantle police said that Fremantle and Perth CBD were unique but that total crime reported since July last year was down by 5.6%, however retail theft was up by 22%.

The best crime prevention is police visibility, so there were more cops on the beat and on bikes and spread all over the day.

There were other speakers, and some who were there to speak but never got to it, so there is a lot of scope for the City to do better here and do a very specific safety forum for retailers, addressing the specific issues and trying to find specific solutions for the short and long term. Trying to cover everything, as was the case this morning, did not work and left traders frustrated.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE BEGGARS BLAME GAME NOT HELPFUL

 

While there is no doubt that beggars and homeless people do create problems in Fremantle it is unfair to blame Fremantle Council for it, as the tabloid emotive article by Josh Zimmerman in the Sunday Times does today.

The headline screams that business furious at council inaction, and further in the article it is claimed that Fremantle has the reputation as a soft-touch on anti-social behaviour.

Beggars increase in numbers during the summer months in Fremantle and there is no doubt there are heaps of them around at the moment, many of them with mental health issues.

The Community Safety Officers of the City are on the beat every day from early till late, but they don’t have move-on power like the WA Police does, and anyway, that just shifts the problem elsewhere.

There have been several community safety forums held by the CoF which are attended by police and support services, but the frustration is always evident that there is little they can do about homeless people.

Homelessness is not a crime, but public drunkenness, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour are, and that needs to be addressed more consistently, because there are a few too many who behave aggressively  on our streets who make people feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

There is no doubt in my mind that the fact that there are many support services in Fremantle attract homeless people to our city, because there is always a free meal, a new blanket, the Freo Street Doctor, etc. to help them out. Services they can’t get in most other suburbs in the Perth metro area.

Fremantle Council can’t be blamed for that however. We are yet again getting more CCTV cameras which are live monitored 24/7 and we have more Community Safety Officers on the streets as well. Law&order issues are State Government responsibility and not in the power of local councils.

It is an annoying and frustrating problem for which there are no easy solutions unfortunately, but the blame game in tabloid newspapers is not helpful either.

Roel Loopers

FREO DONATION BOXES LITTLE HELP FOR BEGGARS

Posted in beggars, charity, city of fremantle, homelessness, local government by freoview on October 6, 2016

homeless

No matter what positive spin the City of Fremantle puts up about the five charity donation boxes in Fremantle, to discourage street begging, they have been less than successful.

Five colourful boxes were installed in mid February this year but the total sum donated to the St Patrick’s Community Centre up to October 3 has only been $ 7,126.70. That included the City matching public donations dollar for dollar.

This ends up being only $ 3.96 per day, so not even two dollar per day from the public, who clearly continue to donate to individual beggars, although we see fewer of them after safety officers have been moving them on.

There are no easy solutions to combat homelessness and street begging, but it is clear that the donation boxes in Fremantle have done very little to improve the funds at St Patricks as four dollars a day does not even buy a meal for one single beggar.

Roel Loopers

$ 40 PER DAY DONATED TO FREMANTLE BEGGAR BOXES

Posted in beggars, city of fremantle, local government by freoview on March 11, 2016

donations

 

Around $ 40.00 a day was donated to the new City of Fremantle donation boxes, which were installed to discourage beggars from asking for money on our city streets. The City matches that, so that makes it $ 2,400.00 for the first month.

Roel Loopers

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