September 22nd, 2016
A SPATE of handbag thefts targeting Muslim women in Geelong’s north has moved the Government to give $10,000 to a program aimed at reducing the crime.
The State Government funding was announced on Wednesday by Police Minister Lisa Neville, who said Diversitat had requested it after a string of alleged bag snatches in Corio and Norlane. Diversitat’s application said the agency wanted to run education sessions to prevent the crime and “improve perceptions of personal safety”.
Ms Neville said the program would include education sessions that would help give the area’s newest residents a better understanding of financial institutions, safety, as well as advice on what to do if they became a victim of crime.
“Geelong is a welcoming and proudly multicultural community — and innovative projects like this will help make our newest residents feel safer and reduce their chances of becoming victims of crime,” she said.
“Our Geelong police do an excellent job protecting the community from crime, but there are small steps that we can all take to help prevent it happening.
“Whether it’s locks, lighting upgrades or education programs — these projects are helping to prevent crime and encourage more people to enjoy our city’s fantastic public spaces.”
The grant was part of the State Government’s $800,000 funding for local projects to help prevent crime.
Money will also go towards “activating a public reserve” in East Geelong. The aim is to bring a community-based arts project to the park, on Tate St, to “discourage crime-related activities by increasing the use of the reserve”.
Other recipients of the community safety grants included Bell Park Sports Club, Grovedale Scout Hall and men’s sheds at Ocean Grove and East Geelong.
On the Surf Coast, grant recipients include the Torquay and District Historical Society, Anglesea Surf Lifesaving Club and men’s sheds at Torquay and Anglesea.
A total of $50,163 went to the Greater Geelong area and $16,679 to the Surf Coast.
South Barwon MP Andrew Katos said he was surprised at the lack of funding for CCTV and small grants provided to his electorate.
“When you look at the $8000 for theft of motor vehicle awareness and consider the level of occurrence in Geelong, it’s not a lot,” he said.
Acting Inspector Michael Cruse said Geelong police welcomed the funding grants.
– Erin Pearson