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More than 50 people from various groups and agencies were invited to the first City of Whyalla Safer Communities Forum

The City of Whyalla’s Safer Communities Forum has been hailed as an outstanding success and a positive step forward for the city.

More than 50 representatives from community groups and agencies met at the Council Chambers on August 2 to discuss safety issues in Whyalla. Whyalla police gave a presentation which included detailed information on crime statistics in Whyalla while other groups presented relevant information arising from their operations and activities.

Council CEO Chris Cowley said the meeting had been “brilliant” and well received by the groups and agencies present.

“The positive energy in the room was brilliant and all the groups present were genuinely appreciative of this opportunity to come together,” Mr Cowley said.

“The level of co-operation and willingness to work together as a partnership was something I’ve rarely seen in a community.”

Mr Cowley said the police presentation showed some “up and down” trends in crime and vandalism in the city and there were some safety issues identified.

“Everyone agreed there isn’t a crime wave in Whyalla but we should always be mindful of maintaining safety in our community for everyone from the young to the aged,” Mr Cowley said.

Mr Cowley said the next step was to gather more information on the highlighted issues in the community which included specific areas of the city and particular behaviours. This information would be used to put in place measures, programs and education to help maintain Whyalla as a safe community.

“This forum was very much about information, staying aware of any issues in our community and working on real solutions using real data from various agencies,” Mr Cowley said.

The forum was proposed by Councillor Tim Breuer at a recent Council meeting. It fits under the umbrella of Council’s existing Stamp Out Vandalism and Crime campaign and joins a motion by Councillor Tom Antonio to put a Stop, Care and Report campaign in place further encouraging residents to report incidents of vandalism.

 “This was a great starting point for a community to work together and I think everyone appreciated the frank and honest discussions,” Cr Breuer said.

“It showed the police and many agencies are doing fantastic work out there and that there is a genuine appetite for the community, police and government agencies to work together.

“There’s no real alarm out there but there are things that can be done immediately and more complex programs that can be worked on to ensure we maintain a safe and happy environment for everyone in the community.”

Cr Breuer said Council’s role would now be to pull together the research and ensure that real actions and solutions to any present and future issues are put in place.

“This can’t just be a talk-fest, everyone needs to now do the research and come back with tangible and achievable actions,” Cr Breuer said.

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