The Maroochydore Police Division Beach Watch program received a bronze award in the police-led category of the 2016 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA).
The ACVPAs recognise good practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia.
Beach Watch is a multi-facet partnership program that was established to decrease opportunistic crime and promote community engagement.
“Our aim is to foster a spirit of community ownership and pride in our local beaches to minimise crime, anti-social behaviour and undesirable activity on the beaches and surrounding car parks,” said Senior Sergeant Gavin Marsh of Queensland Police Service (QPS).
“Together with Sunshine Coast Council, Neighbourhood Watch, Surf Lifesaving Queensland, businesses and the local community we run public awareness campaigns—reminding people to be cautious and secure their cars and belongings—and encourage everyone to identify problems and report suspicious activity.
“We also conduct safety audits on car parks, and have proactive beach patrols at high-risk times.”
The project has seen a significant decrease in property crime and raised community awareness of reducing opportunities for crime by securing vehicles and property.
“Winning this award reinforces that grass roots collaboration is the building blocks to any successful program,” said Senior Sergeant Marsh.
“We have already expanded Beach Watch to a number of beaches in the Sunshine Coast and hope through the ACVPA recognition, other communities see the benefits and establish similar projects in their regions.”
This year, the ACVPA celebrates its 25th year of rewarding outstanding community-based crime and violence prevention projects.
“This project contributed effectively to public awareness, using community collaboration to combat crime and to prevent anti-social behaviour in and around popular beaches,” said acting Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) Director, Chris Dawson APM.
The projects are assessed each year by the ACVPA Board, which consists of senior law enforcement representatives from each state and territory police service and is chaired by the AIC Director.
The awards are a joint initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments, coordinated by the AIC and co-sponsored by the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council.
For more information about the award winners, visit www.aic.gov.au/acvpa