Safety summit “important step” in listening to the Docklands community

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Brendan Rees

A much-anticipated safety summit has been staged bringing together the City of Melbourne, Victoria Police, residents’ groups, and stakeholders to address various issues facing the city.

More than 50 people attended the August 19 summit at Town Hall including the Docklands Representative Group (DRG) with safety infrastructure, safety at night, community policing, and the Connect Respect program among the issues discussed.

The Connect Respect program, which is delivered by the Council to Homeless Persons and the City of Melbourne, helps businesses build their understanding of and support their response to homelessness in the city.  

“Community safety is a priority for us at the City of Melbourne,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said, adding the summit aimed to “facilitate safer neighbourhoods for everyone and agree on actions to be taken”.

“We heard from Victoria Police and our own city safety team, as well as broader questions and feedback from our presidents of residents’ community groups,” she said.

“We’re looking forward to continuing these discussions and working together towards agreed outcomes.”

The Lord Mayor said the council would investigate increasing lighting outside commercial buildings, as well as making it easier for building owners to install external CCTV cameras.

The council would also find ways of better communicating safety programs it had in place, she said.

The DRG, which had three representatives attend, viewed the summit as an “as important step” in addressing the specific needs of different precincts within the City of Melbourne.

 

“Safety is important, and an ongoing challenge and we were pleased with the City of Melbourne in recognising the importance of residents,” a DRG spokesperson said, adding it was pleasing to see neighbourhood policing members also listen to concerns.

 

“One of the things that we raised was the importance for police and the City of Melbourne to engage directly with building management, not just residents and also we view this as an ongoing issue.”

The DRG also looked forward to future forums that would also engage trading and small business associations.

“Safety will always be on the agenda,” the spokesperson said, adding it must be “designed into” the community to improve perceptions of safety such as the precinct’s layout, landscaping, lighting, and wayfinding.

“For example, with the redevelopment of Central Pier, being able to design in elements like lighting and sight lines will ensure it is made to feel safe from the beginning and help set the tone.”

The summit comes as Docklands residents and traders have expressed concerns around crime as fears grew not enough was being done to keep the community safe.

Some residents were “increasingly removing themselves” from public spaces after dark, especially around the harbour where anti-social behaviour and violence were worrying issues. •

 

Photo caption 1: The DRG’s Aditi Rawal with Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

Photo caption 2: The DRG’s Aditi Rawal and Janette Corcoran.

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