Policing & safety
February 17, 2011
I promote proactive, compassionate and practical solutions for the complex crime problems in our densely populated area. I work with local police to get action on issues such as noise, anti-social behaviour, homophobic violence and safety in public housing estates.
I have repeatedly called for the State Government to increase policing numbers in the inner city. Additional resources are needed at night on weekends to respond to the serious crime and anti-social behaviour associated with large crowds of intoxicated people.
City of Sydney research recorded 6000 people at Kings Cross between 1am and 2am on a Saturday night; 5500 people at Darlinghurst Road between midnight and 1am; and 3,000 people in Oxford Square. In one hour in Kings Cross, approximately 80 serious anti-social incidents such as physical fights, arguments and verbal abuse were recorded.
I work to promote a safer city at night, where a good time does not mean alcohol-related violence. A strong community campaign, backed by my small bars legislation, forced State liquor reform and Sydney now has 30 new boutique bars helping change the drinking culture—with the added potential for music, performance and art.
Contrary to an ugly and misleading campaign funded by anonymous liquor industry interests, council’s development controls won’t close the City at night and cost jobs. Good operators have access to options for later trading, but poorly managed premises should not get this privilege.
The City of Sydney is consulting on a new night-time policy to encourage late night cafés, galleries and shops, combined with improved transport options. It will promote activities that do not focus on drinking, and balance public safety, economic growth and residential amenity.
I promote crime prevention and community policing strategies that avoid problems, reduce impacts and enable the community to feel safer and work with police to respond to crime. I will continue to push for adequately resourced community policing, with police who know the local area working on the streets to prevent crime and target known hot spots.
Successive NSW Governments have focused on locking people up instead of tackling the causes of crime. This year NSW will spend $966.3 million on custodial services, with a cost of $76,820 a year to keep someone in prison. Those resources need to be refocused toward prevention, early intervention and rehabilitation.
Nearly half of all prisoners are long-term unemployed, 60 per cent are illiterate or innumerate, and many have mental illness or a drug or alcohol problem. If we are serious about reducing crime, we must provide the education, health care and social supports needed to prevent reoffending.
I support programs to divert young people at risk from a crime career and targeted post-release programs to help people get on their feet. My Lord Mayoral Salary Trust funded a successful program through CRC Justice Support to teach former prisoners living skills and the skills needed to maintain a household.
The City of Sydney works with local communities and police to develop safety plans for areas with particular needs. Council has a wide range of safety programs on topics such as drugs, drink spiking, home security and personal safety. The City’s network of 80 cameras assists police to detect, prevent and prosecute assaults and robberies, as well as other serious offences.