BeCA attended the recent Youth Behaviour Management Forum conducted at Baringa Community Centre. The meeting was attended by representatives from nearby schools, Community Policing groups, Council representatives, Stockland, BeCA, Aura Connected and Aura Safe. The meeting was chaired by Cr Rick Baberowski.
The forum originally met back in 2019 to address community concerns regarding the behaviour of some groups of youths around the Baringa Skatepark and other park areas in Baringa, Bells Reach, Arbour and Bellvista.
Police continue to report that they do not consider the overall behaviour of youth across the area to be of great concern, but they do remark there are pockets of anti-social behaviour along with some criminal behaviour going on.
Recently BeCA has been made aware of a spike in youth anti-social behaviour in our area and, via its contacts both with Council and Caloundra Police, has taken steps to address these concerns. The Police and Council response is currently on-going.
When visiting a hotspot several residents approached the police to vent their concerns over the behaviour of some younger people climbing on Council structures and other anti-social behaviour. When the residents were asked if they had reported the incidents to Police Link or Crime Stoppers, they answered that they had not.
And this is the major problem confronting police on local youth behaviour issues, residents observing the inappropriate behaviour and their failure to report it.
Whether we like it or not police respond to the number of reports affecting an area. 4 or 5 reports may lead to an area being designated as a hotspot and thus attracting increased police activity around the area.
000 should only be used in cases where a person’s safety is affected. Other reports can be made via Crime Stoppers or Police Link. “EVERY” report that goes to Crime Stoppers/Police Link is recorded and passed on to the police for their attention.
Stockland is preparing a flyer and a fridge magnet for delivery to all households to set out the procedure for lodging a report on anti-social or criminal behaviour to Crime Stoppers/Police Link. Some further refinement of the draft information sheet presented to the Youth Forum will be undertaken by Stockland prior to its distribution across the area.
Representatives from local schools who were in attendance at the Forum were keen to hear of inappropriate behaviour by their students either during or outside school hours. Quite often students who are disruptive outside of school hours are also disruptive while at school. Confidential reports from the public on inappropriate behaviour outside the classroom may assist the school during student and family counselling sessions. Just give the school a call and leave the details at ‘front office’. The details will be picked up by the Student Counsellor for attention.
A difficulty for those wishing to lodge a report is to differentiate between what is an inappropriate behaviour issue and what is a law and order issue. Is bottle smashing breaking the law or is it an anti-social issue? Generally, if the behaviour is to have a result where a person is injured or the behaviour has the potential to cause injury, property seriously damaged or an activity which is clearly illegal, it is a law and order issue.
However, is a person climbing on the rooftop of a Council owned building or structure illegal or anti-social?
Today’s modern technology means most adults with a mobile phone now have a handy camera available to them. A quick sneaky snap of the behaviour is wonderful evidence for police. It is better to lodge a report than to not report the incident at all. If in doubt, report it!
Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) is a wonderful preventative tool for Council and Police. CCTV is also ridiculously expensive not only to install but to maintain and then monitor over a period of years. This is an expense Council is not keen to take on. A ‘mobile’ CCTV system which can be moved from one hotspot to another as the need arises is considered a much more beneficial expense for Council to fund.
Stockland are submitting a proposal to Council to have permanent CCTV coverage for Baringa Skate Park. Much of the required wiring is already in place. The cost to install, maintain and monitor the CCTV would be covered by Stockland.
The Behaviour Youth Forum will meet again in September.