In the ABC coverage airing on 5th November 2018, In the suburb of Kings Park in Melbourne's west, Leah Meurer is unsure if she'll ever get over the night four teenagers broke down her backdoor and stormed into her bedroom.
"I don't know how they can say that the crime rate is falling. Nobody feels safe," she told Four Corners.
Melbournians are sceptical about the reported crime stats with the increase in violent home invasions. Our city is becoming like Johannesburg. Mobile App Entrepreneurs Ash & Maree Scates believe that the government doesnt like this perception of the city and residents feel, whether rightly or wrongly, that their safety is being jeopardised.
Taylors Hill resident David Driscoll believes there is a crisis and he says people living around him are terrified.
On August 8, 2018 the police riot squad and helicopter unit had to be called in to disperse a group of teenagers of African appearance who had gathered near a local shopping centre for a planned fight between two girls.
The kids threw rocks at police and a patrol car had its back window smashed. No injuries were reported, and no arrests were made.
"When I first walked out it was the fear of what could happen with the kids, because there were that many of them," Mr Driscoll said.
African gangs are here. The Government and councils and the police say they are not here. They are here and people, residents are scared."
Ash & Maree Scates have attempted to address the crime problem by creating a personal safety App.
"We don't feel safe and our kids don't feel safe like we used to. We created the App to address the issue of personal safety. The App has 3 main features:
- A Personal Safety Alarm that in an emergency , sends a text message to 2 contacts with your exact location and directions, using geo technology.
- Find Your Nearest Police Station - this feature allows you to find your nearest police stations from any location - a map and directions are provided.
- Post & Read Crime Incidents - This feature allows you to post and read crime incidents locally and connect with your community.
We felt compelled to do something for our own safety and that of our community. We see the gang crime increasing with no solution in sight", the couple said.
We need the help of media to show the true feelings of people of this city and look at the issues of:-
- Juvenile crime
- The Sudanese Community and supporting children to keep them in school
- Educating the Community about respect for Women and Police and the Community in general
- Tougher sentencing for juveniles especially
- Tougher Bail restrictions
- Deportation for repeat offenders and immediate family (breaking the cycle of intergenerational crime)
- Responsibility of Parents in raising their children
- Mandatory Sentencing
- Adhering to our community laws and value
We have started a school eduction program around safety, incorporating the App, and teaching:
- RESPECT and VALUES at all levels so that students have a basic understanding of what is right and wrong!
- Educating students on their surroundings and detecting suspicious behaviour
- Uniting communities with the App and reporting crime incidents
- Providing empowerment and control when there is clearly a lack of faith in the system
- Education on personal and home security
- Encouraging students to contribute to their community in a supportive and positive manner
For more information please visit www.stayingalert.com and www.communitysafetywatch.com.au
Community Safety Watch
Maree Hamilton (Scates) is a Public Speaker and Author (of Life Sucks BUT YOU CAN Turn It Around and more!) and is an advocate for
personal safety, particularly for women, having suffered domestic violence in the past.
Maree and her husband Ash are entrepreneurs passionate about keeping communities safe and this is their contribution to saving lives.
Please help them with their vision of creating safer communities.