A new Neighbourhood Watch group for Southbank

A new Neighbourhood Watch group for Southbank

Organisers behind a new Neighbourhood Watch group are calling on Southbank residents to join and help combat increasing crime rates in the area.

The organiser of the group, Christopher Milner, said the impetus for establishing the initiative was a series of break-ins which occurred in Southbank in October 2024.

Within his apartment complex, he told Southbank News there were multiple cases of people breaking into the basement and cutting into storage units with angle grinders and stealing “whatever they could find”.

“The last straw” for Mr Milner was when he was woken up by someone attempting to break into an apartment below him.

It was found to be a former tenant attempting to use a fire extinguisher to break into the apartment they were evicted from.

According to the Crime Statistics Agency, there has been an 11.3 per cent increase in crime incidents in the City of Melbourne with 27,835 incidents recorded in 2024 compared to 25,019 in 2023.

In Southbank, there have so far been 2671 criminal incidents recorded in 2024.

Mr Milner is concerned that the area has changed and said that the Neighbourhood Watch group was needed. He said that should enough members join, it would be first group of its kind in the City of Melbourne municipality.   

Manager of administration and members’ services at Neighbourhood Watch Victoria Nikoll Peschek said that Neighbourhood Watch groups were essential in helping educate residents on how to prevent crime.

According to Ms Peschek, areas such as Southbank that were predominately made up of apartments were prone to storage area break-ins, bike theft, car crime and mail theft.

“The number one thing to prevent crime is knowing your neighbour,” she said. “It’s the best way for abnormal behaviour to be detected.”

To help increase participation and raise awareness about Southbank’s Neighbourhood Watch group Mr Milner, with the support of a $2000 Connected Neighborhood grant from the City of Melbourne, is organising a community event on October 20 at Sturt Street Reserve.

The event will allow community members to connect and provide information on how to join the group.

“If nobody joins up, I can’t do it on my own,” Mr Milner said. •

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