Brunswick unites as forum addresses public safety fears

CHRIS HINGSTON

THE Brunswick community has united in an attempt to tackle public safety fears.
At a town hall forum last week residents raised issues like poorly-lit side streets, vacant shop fronts and violence against women.

The safety forum follows the rape and murder of 29-year-old Jill Meagher in September.

Ms Meagher’s death led thousands of people to take part in two anti-violence marches on Sydney Road.

More than 150 people attended the forum at Brunswick Town Hall, hosted by federal Wills MP Kelvin Thomson and Brunswick MP Jane Garrett.

The forum began with a minute’s silence to honour Ms Meagher.

CCTV, better lighting and the police presence on Sydney Road were all discussed.

A call from the crowd for property developers to contribute more funds for street lighting and better public transport won applause. Others called for licensed venues to come together to provide late-night transport home for patrons.

Ms Garrett said many of the ideas raised were worth taking further.

“It’s important the community is part of the discussion, raising the issues and finding the solutions,” she said.

Moreland South Ward councillor Lambros Tapinos suggested more could be done when planning new developments to make sure there were safe pedestrian access points from main streets. Sydney Road Brunswick Association president Rohini Ratnakar said traders were also feeling unsafe.

“As members of the Brunswick community we are anxious to see action taken, that is speedy, effective, far-reaching and permanent,” she said.

She said more taxi ranks, better transport links and fewer vacant shopfronts would help make the street feel safer.

Ms Ratnakar said other incidents, such as last year’s shooting near Barkly Square and the stabbing of a woman in Albert Street, affected Sydney Road’s reputation, potentially discouraging visitors.

Moreland police local area commander Dean McGowan said cost was a factor when considering the installation of CCTV in an area the length of Sydney Road.

He encouraged community members to work together and with police to tackle crime.

http://www.melbournetimesweekly.com.au/story/1145155/brunswick-unites-as-forum-addresses-public-safety-fears/