Snag and a Coke help tackle crime
A "SAUSAGE sizzle" has been suggested by Tweed police as one strategy to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour plaguing Murwillumbah. Police put up the "feel good" proposal at the first meeting of the Murwillumbah Safety Precinct Committee, established after a public forum last month when town leaders gathered to try to find ways to stop the crime wave. The committee has representatives from the Murwillumbah business community, police, Tweed Shire Council, the Liquor Accord, Murwillumbah Fire Brigade and the North Coast Area Health Service. Tweed/Byron Local Area Commander, Superintendent Michael Kenny, told the Tweed Daily News that a free sausage sizzle for young people hosted by police had been identified as a strategy to help tackle crime in Murwillumbah. Supt Kenny said the sausage sizzle was about "breaking down the barriers" between young people and police by providing a comfortable setting for discussion. He said police were looking to use the PCYC bus to drop the youths off at home after the barbecue. Other strategies canvassed at the committee meeting, according to Supt Kenny, include high-visibility policing, pushbike patrols and %increased visibility by highway patrols in Murwillumbah. Supt Kenny said it was important to let the local community know that concerns about crime had been taken seriously. "We did listen to their concerns and we are taking significant action to deal with those issues," he said. Inspector Ross Wilkinson, the officer in charge of Murwillumbah police, said the sausage sizzles would be held at a local church on Friday and Saturday nights, hosted by Rosie's street outreach service and police youth liaison officers. "We're going to refer them (young people) up to the church for a sausage sizzle and a can of Coke," Insp Wilkinson said. "The police will be there to establish a few relations." Insp Wilkinson said police would talk to young people in the hope of identifying the cause of the crime problems, which include public drinking, loitering in the town's main streets late at night and repeated acts of vandalism, including arson attacks. Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber president Phil Youngblutt, who missed the meeting held last Thursday morning because he did not receive written notification of it until the next day, said the sausage sizzle was an "unusual" proposal and was unlikely to attract those who were committing the crimes. "I would be surprised if the town's young people who are doing these things are going to turn up to that at all," Mr Youngblutt said. "I'd say it would be extremely unlikely." Mr Youngblutt said he wanted to see police doing regular late-night patrols in Murwillumbah, because vandals needed the fear of being caught. "The police should be doing more patrols at different times so they can talk to them and catch them," he said. "They've got to be caught, but at the moment they are not even being %reprimanded. "It's just not working." Mr Youngblutt said he would be discussing street crime with Insp Wilkinson at the next Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber meeting. Supt Kenny said the Liquor Accord, in which publicans and police work together to try to minimise the negative impacts of alcohol, would be of "great assistance" by encouraging vigilance and responsible service of alcohol in the town. A Tweed Shire Council spokeswoman would not comment on the sausage sizzle idea. "The sausage sizzle proposal was put forward by the police, you'd really need to get any more information from them," she said.