The complexity of addressing antisocial behaviour is at the heart of a locally based petition that Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison will flag with the State Government, in a bid to combat the city's chronic youth crime problem.
The campaign builds on a petition started by Rutherford business operator Lee Lester, to establish a curfew for young people in an effort to address crime in the area.
Ms Aitchison advised Mr Lester to expand the range of options in the petition to include CCTV funding for the whole of the Maitland Local Government Area, increased local police presence and diversionary programs for young people.
Ms Aitchison spoke about the need for a whole of community approach to criminal and antisocial behaviour and the petition, at a recent Aberglasslyn/Rutherford Neighbourhood Watch meeting.
She told the meeting that residents can sign the petition which calls on the State to:
a) Implement a curfew on youths, between ages of 10 and 18 years, from 10pm to 6am.
b) Expand the eligibility of the Community and Small Business CCTV Fund to include the Maitland LGA.
c) Increase the local police presence in Rutherford and surrounding suburbs.
d) Provide effective diversionary programs for young people to engage them and improve their behaviour and life options.
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Ms Aitchison has also been active in working with state government agencies and community services with Maitland City Council on the development of effective strategies to combat anti-social behaviour in the young.
One of the options put forward at the meeting was investigating the feasibility of establishing a youth centre in the Rutherford area.
The petition could trigger a debate in the Legislative Assembly if 10,000 signatures are reached.
Copies of the document can be found at various businesses in Aberglasslyn and Rutherford. Ms Aitchison also direct-mailed a crime survey to all residents of Rutherford, Telarah and Aberglasslyn.
She is continuing to lobby NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to make Maitland eligible for existing CCTV funding. In July Ms Aitchison revealed that she had uncovered a bucket of big State bucks set aside to fund CCTV in business hubs across some Sydney electorates.
She is demanding the State expand the eligibility of the $5m Community and Small Business CCTV Fund to include Maitland, in particular Rutherford. Businesses in the west have been the target of crime which, according to Mr Lester, is resulting in residents retreating to their homes for safety - some selling up and moving suburbs.
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