Council Community Safety Audits yield results

Date published: 3 October 2023

Townsville City Council has successfully completed the first divisional Community Safety Audits to identify safety initiatives and secure public spaces and community assets.

These audits were carried out in key locations across all 10 of Townsville divisional areas.

The effort was a collaborative undertaking led by Council’s Community Safety Auditor, former police officer Clint Drew, with participation from the Queensland Police Service (QPS), Council staff, the relevant divisional councillors and key stakeholders from various community groups and sporting clubs.

Mayor Jenny Hill acknowledged the exercise identified various issues and assured the community that practical and cost-effective solutions would be implemented promptly.

“Our goal has been to address community safety head-on,” Cr Hill said.

“These audits have proven to be effective tools that can yield practical and efficient results.

“Council does not have a role in law enforcement, but we are committed to hold both the lawmakers and lawbreakers accountable.”

The audits were set against strict criteria and incorporated key principles of crime prevention through environmental design, police crime data and Council’s database for safety-related requests and maintenance of public assets.

Cr Hill said Council continues to invest in lighting, CCTV and community response vehicles in order to provide safe community spaces.

“However, the keys to success is through adopting innovative approaches and working collaboratively with the community on these issues,” she said.

“The audits primarily focused on what can be done with public space as these fall within Council’s responsibilities, but they do not overlook the root cause behind many safety and crime concerns.

“One of the recommendations was to expand the Adopt A Cop program to local sporting clubs and community groups.

“By connecting our local sporting clubs and community groups with a member of the QPS, we can effectively bridge the gap between our hard-working law enforcement officers and the many volunteers and community associations who activate and use our public spaces.

“This level of partnership will become a highly-effective two-way communication and engagement initiative that will benefit both the community and QPS.”

Cr Hill said Council also ran an online survey through its Have Your Say platform which was open to the public during the audit period.

“We received hundreds of individual submissions from the public, providing valuable insights into local community knowledge and suggesting ways to improve community safety.

“Some of the suggestions included grants for businesses to improve lighting on facades and awnings and ideas for activating underutilised public spaces to discourage anti-social behaviour,” she said.

A report detailing findings of the Community Safety Audits will be presented to Council at October’s Ordinary Council Meeting.

A consultation report outlining community feedback from the Have Your Say Townsville platform will be made publicly available on Friday 6 October on the Have Your Say .