Eye on the city

A TARGETED police campaign is turning the tide for anti-social behaviour in the Bendigo CBD. 

Associated crimes, including shoplifting, have reduced in recent weeks following an increased police presence in busy areas. 

Senior Sergeant John Dalton said the answer to deter crime was simple - be seen. 

In recent weeks crews have set up a mobile police van in shopping strips and community hubs, including Hargreaves Mall, Marketplace Shopping Centre and the Bendigo Railway Station. 

It follows increased anti-social behaviour and crime in recent months.

"Not only does the visible police presence act as a clear deterrent, but it also becomes another option for people to report crimes, lost property or any other concerns they may have," he said. 

"This simple approach provides the people of Bendigo with the reassurance that they can go about their shopping and rail travel without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe caused by the unacceptable behaviour of some people in these areas."

Senior Sergeant Dalton said there was clear evidence that police presence in populated areas had discouraged those thinking about causing trouble.  

"We have had a great response from our shopkeepers with a number of them saying that their instances of shoplifting has been reduced since the introduction of our mobile police station and increased police presence," he said. 

The mobile police van - one of many being used across the state - has also been operated by Protective Services Officers at the railway station.

It was all about breaking down barriers between residents and officers, Senior Sergeant Dalton said. 

"The mobile police station has provided us with the opportunity to go to the community, rather than them having to come to us to report matters or ask for advice."

He said police would continue to use the facility at times when and where it was needed. 

Members have also been handing out brochures to the public which include advice on reducing the chances of being a victim of burglaries, theft from motor cars and other crimes.

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