More than 35 residents from Gumdale, Wakerley and surrounding suburbs attended a crime mobile office hosted by Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, and State Member for Chatsworth, Steve Minnikin, at Wakerley Park on Saturday morning.
The crime mobile office gave local residents the opportunity to share their crime and safety concerns with local police officers. Senior Sergeant Mark Norrish and Senior Sergeant Tony Brown from Wynnum Police Station answered attendees’ questions on local crime and police presence in the area.
“It’s good to get an idea of crime in our neighbourhood. Locals have been telling me about break-ins around this area, so I decided to hold this mobile office to give them the chance to air their concerns to local police and find out how they can protect themselves,” Mr Vasta said.
Mr Minnikin said it was important everyone felt safe in their homes and knew what they could do to keep their property secure.
“Residents received valuable information on what they can do at home; meanwhile Mr Vasta, the police and I were also able to hear firsthand the biggest concerns of our community,” Mr Minnikin said.
“Having an open communication line between residents, local police, Mr Vasta and myself means we can all work together to keep our community safe.”
Wakerley resident Leanne Swadling said she moved into the area in 2016 and had already experienced three attempted break-ins.
“It’s terrifying. I’ve got three young kids at home. I’ve come today to find out what’s going on and hear from police what they have to say,” Ms Swadling said.
Manly resident Tracey da Costa shared similar concerns, saying there had been break-ins in every second house of her street.
“There’s a feeling of absolute vulnerability. We had the Wakerley shooting the other week, and my daughter’s school was locked down because of an intruder. I couldn’t get to her.
“Sometimes when my husband’s away from home, I sleep with a nine iron. I just want to know what can we do to make things safer?”
Senior Sergeant Tony Brown, who is currently in charge of Wynnum Station, said generally speaking crime in the area is on the way down.
“In the case of clusters of break-ins, our detectives are doing a good job. Nine out of ten cases are solved,” Snr Sgt Brown said.
When asked if Wynnum Station was a 24 hour police station, Snr Sgt Brown said the station opened according to demand.
“There are rarely walk-ins between 10pm and 6am, so we didn’t see a need for the station to be open 24/7. We would rather have officers out on the road where they’re needed rather than sitting behind a desk. We still have police cars deployed all throughout the night,” he said.
Gumdale resident Jan Evans said she attended the crime mobile office to thank officers for their consistent patrols in the neighbourhood.
“I hear police cars regularly doing the rounds in the middle of the night. It gives me peace of mind,” Ms Evans said.
“One time I went out at 3am in my car. I came back to the house to check if the garage door was locked. An officer stopped me to see what I was up to—he thought I was breaking into my house! It really gives me a sense of security that police are out there on the job looking out for residents.”
Wakerley resident Michael Norris said it was good of Mr Vasta to be out in the community listening to people’s concerns.
“I’ve had no problems with crime so far, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I like to see how proactive police are being,” Mr Norris said.
Senior Sergeant Mark Norrish said people from outside the area were coming into the neighbourhood looking to commit break-ins.
“Wynnum Police is on them time and time again. We mobilise and do a good job, and that’s thanks to public input,” Snr Sgt Norrish said.
Mr Vasta said Wynnum police were doing an outstanding job and that they needed support from locals to keep crime down.
“I encourage you to connect with police and connect with us. Steve and I will be doing everything we can to help you,” Mr Vasta said.