Woodberry crime prevention strategies in spotlight

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison.

Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison.

Early intervention programs that keep young people on the straight and narrow are key to reducing crime in the Woodberry and Beresfield areas, Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison says.

The government needs to ensure [communities] have more funding for programs to help with early intervention and crime prevention programs. - Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison

With a part-time staffing arrangement at the Beresfield police station, community members, police and service providers will join Ms Aitchison to discuss crime prevention strategies in Woodberry this week.

It comes amid ongoing calls from communities on the Maitland-Newcastle border for increased staffing at the Beresfield station.

The issue was a hot topic in the 2014 state election campaign, when Labor promised nine full-time staff members for the facility – but the party did not form government.

While Ms Aitchison said she supported the community’s push to have the station staffed on a full-time basis, she said attention should also be on developing programs that reduce or prevent crime in the area.

Ideas will be discussed at a meeting at Noel Unicomb Community Hall at noon on Tuesday. Ms Aitchison said anyone concerned about crime in the area could attend the meeting, listen and have their say in a constructive and positive way. 

“Of course we want a stronger police presence there but there has to be a better response,” she said.

“The government needs to ensure [communities] have more funding for programs to help with early intervention and crime prevention programs. [They] aren’t funding enough community development programs.”

The Beresfield station is part of the Maitland-based Central Hunter police command but is in the Newcastle local government area.

The suburb is also in the state seat of Ms Aitchison’s Labor colleague Sonia Hornery – Wallsend. Ms Hornery is collecting signatures for a petition she hopes will enable the Beresfield police station issue to be debated in parliament.

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