Cops, kids cut crime

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Yalgoo Police Station officer in charge Sgt Nahan Johansen and Yalgoo Shire chief executive Silvio Brenzi say the town's crime free November was almost repeated with an almost crime free summer break thanks to various community programs.
Camera IconYalgoo Police Station officer in charge Sgt Nahan Johansen and Yalgoo Shire chief executive Silvio Brenzi say the town's crime free November was almost repeated with an almost crime free summer break thanks to various community programs. Credit: Shire of Yalgoo

Yalgoo used to be one of those towns police officers regarded as a punishment posting.

Two years ago, children broke into Monsignor Hawes’ historic Yalgoo Catholic Church, smashing priceless artefacts.

Local police station officer-in- charge Nathan Johansen said they used to dread school holidays.

“You could pretty much put your money on a couple of burglaries and a car stolen,” Sgt Johansen said.

But Yalgoo Shire had a crime- free November, and Sgt Johansen said there was almost no crime in December either.

He puts it down to the Shire’s holiday programs with children and police involvement.

“As soon as the school broke, we were hand in hand with the Shire,” Sgt Johansen said. “We had some really good engagement programs with the coppers and the kids — it set the behaviour standards for the rest of the holidays.”

Yalgoo Shire chief executive Silvio Brenzi said the improvement was probably the result of several initiatives around the town. These included new signs, community consultations and work on the new football oval as well as the school holiday program.

“Lately, we’ve been strengthening our focus on providing initiatives that engage different sectors of the community, projects that foster pride in our community and consultation that involves a broad range of people,” Mr Brenzi said.

“As a result, we’re experiencing a real strengthening of our social fabric. We’re seeing people of different backgrounds engage with each other, and this creates an overall improvement in the general atmosphere around town.”

Mr Brenzi said the reduced crime levels were an incentive for the township to continue investing in community projects.

“Whether it’s art projects, community events, or kids’ activities, these initiatives combine to make a real impact,” he said.

“We look forward to a very positive future for our community.”

Sgt Johansen has just returned from three weeks annual leave and said an average 25 children had showed up to the school program each day he was away.

“It also gives us the opportunity to get on the highway and target fatigue, speeding and random breath tests,” he said.

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