BIG Brother could be keeping a closer eye on the Sarina and Marian town centres if the LNP wins the November 25 election. A commitment to spend $100,000 on closed circuit televisions in the two centres will be announced by the LNP's candidate for Mirani today.
It's a win for Kerry Latter, who has been a vocal advocate for increased crime prevention resources in the face of growing public concern since launching his campaign in July.
But it's a small offering from his party leaders who have announced million-dollar initiatives to tackle crime in other parts of the state. Last week Tim Nicholls chose Townsville to announce a major crime policy; that the LNP would commit to a six-month trial of a curfew to keep youth off the streets late at night to curb that region's juvenile crime.
Yesterday the party announced an extra 535 frontline police officers would be on the beat from Cairns to the Gold Coast and $8million would be invested as part of a plan to reduce re-offending rates for juveniles and adult offenders who are released from jail.
Julieanne Gilbert, whose party promised an additional 11 officers for the region, said "...we need to have our fair share of any additional resources so we can maintain our low level of crime”.
"We can't take our eye off the ball with resources and let the crime rate increase.”
All sides of politics are promising frontline police reinforcements in the run to election day, but an increasingly worried community just wants to know how much money Mackay will see and how it will help curb this region's escalating crime rate.
Mr Latter was unable to say yesterday what the LNP announcements would mean for Mackay.
In Sarina the cameras would be installed when Mackay Regional Council revamps the town centre and the placement and timing at Marian would also depend on the council, he said.
"These cameras would also give people a sense of some degree of comfort knowing that there is monitoring going on and it acts as a deterrent for criminals.”
A frequent contributor to Facebook page Mackay Crime Watch, Mr Latter has been pushing for more 'boots on the ground' and improved police resources to combat what he describes as the "rampant” crime problem in the region.
"We cannot and will not remain silent while thugs break into, vandalise and steal residents property,” he wrote to his campaign Facebook page in July.
"People are frightened to do anything and leave anything unlocked and even if they park a car outside they either find the car stolen or the number plate stolen,” he said.
"I think that crime is rampant. We need to get on top of it and give the police as much support as possible.
"They are doing a great job with what resources they've got, but we need to make sure we better resource them and give them the powers to operate.
"But we need to make sure that the court system starts to reflect more what community expectation is.”
Mackay police district has 320 officers, but Mr Latter has called for a review into the numbers needed, claiming police have told him they don't have the required resources.
While he didn't give an exact figure of how many were satisfactory, he said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's promise of an 11 additional officers for the Mackay region, out of the 400 to be rolled out across the state over the next four years, should Labor be elected, was not enough.
Noela Lowry, an administrator of the crime watch Facebook page, agreed more police were needed.
"I certainly don't believe crime is under control in Mackay,” she said.
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