By JESSICA ROBERTS
Neighbours in Clayton, Glen Waverley, Wheelers Hill and Ashwood are being encouraged to introduce themselves to one another in a trial Meet Your Street campaign by Monash Council.
The council is aiming to improve public perception of safety by encouraging stronger connections between residents within the local community.
According to the 2018 Annual Community Satisfaction Survey there has been a 3.4 per cent increase in the proportion of respondents who identified safety, policing and crime as a key local issue since 2016.
Councillors Rebecca Paterson and Geoff Lake proposed the need for a committee to respond to the community’s concerns of safety and crime.
“Councillor Lake and I became concerned about residents increasingly citing fear of crime as a worry,” Cr Paterson said.
“This was despite crime statistics showing Monash was among the safest municipalities in Melbourne, and had crime rates that were largely static”.
Out of the 79 local government areas within the Melbourne metropolitan region, the City of Monash was ranked 68 for reported violent offences and 67 for reported drug offences.
“Using community strengthening activities such as BBQs, street parties, children’s activities and introducing local community organisations such as Rotary and Neighbourhood Watch, residents will be given an opportunity to meet people living locally, and feel a greater connection to the people and place where they live,” Cr Paterson said.
“We will also be taking the opportunity to allow residents to connect with council and police, who will circulate up-to-date information about crime in their location, what they can do to help prevent crime, for example deadlocks on doors, and be able to talk about specific concerns they have for safety in their area.”
Monash University Associate Professor of Criminology Rebecca Wickes, an external adviser on the committee, said by allowing residents greater access to information and each other, the Meet your Street campaign would help increase feelings of social support and inclusion.
“There are just study after study that show the greatest thing we have as humans in our life is strong social support, we live longer, we’re healthier, we’re happier,” she said.
“Having those deeper connections with people matter a lot for our lives … and so a campaign like this is really about saying let’s stop for a few minutes and think about other people on our street, think about what needs they may have, what interests they may have and how we might be able to work together on local issues.”