By Victoria Stone-Meadows

Casey’s Costal townships of Tooradin, Blind Bight, Warneet, and Cannons Creek have banded together and formed a new Neighbourhood Watch Group to keep residents safe.
While crime in the costal villages is low compared to other areas of the City of Casey, Tooradin resident Danielle Symons said nowhere is as safe as it used to be.
“We’ve been very relaxed down here on the coast, even in Tooradin have an internal garage door I would leave open all the time,” she said.
“But everything is changing and that can be said about anywhere, there is a bit of a sense of fear here now so we wanted to do something about it.”
About 12 months ago, a Coastal Villages Neighbourhood Watch group was started in the area and Ms Synmons has been an active member ever since.
In November 2016, Ms Symons took over leadership of the group along with Blind Bight residents Anne Gallagher and Troy Pearl.
“The main aim is to promote the group by encouraging people to get to know their neighbours and regain that sense of community that has been lost and I couldn’t have done that wihtout the other comittee members,” she said.
“We see it as a great benefit to spread the word so people know we are here and looking out for them but also it’s a deterrent to criminals too.”
The Coastal Villages Neighbourhood watch want to be pro-active in protecting their communities’ members before crime has a chance to rise in the area.
“We want to put together some signs for the area and promote us as an active community working against crime,” Ms Symons said.
The Coastal Villages Neighbourhood Watch also wants to keep their communities informed and up to date with the latest crime statistics and methods to keep people and possessions safe.
The first community safety forum hosted by the Coastal Villages Neighbourhood Watch was held on Wednesday 5 July where guest speakers informed the coastal communities on all things crime.
Speakers at the event included memberd of Victoria Police, Casey councillor Geoff Ablett and Casey Neighbourhood Watch leader Rob Ward.
Former Labor Mordialloc MP Janice Munch also spoke at the event about domestic violence in the region.
Ms Symons said the event was a success and valuable knowledge was passed on to the residents of the area.
“We had about 50 or 60 people turn up and they asked lots of questions and people spoke to us and we had the opportunity to make great connections,” she said.
Ms Symons said the next step for the Coastal Villages Neighbourhood Watch are to erect signs in the villages to prospective criminals know they are in a Neighbourhood Watch zone.
However, Ms Symons said without greater participation from people representing all the coastal villages, the Neighbourhood Watch ideal cannot be met.
“A lot of members are older retirees, I and Anne and few of us are younger,” she said.
“We want more people invoked actively because when you run events a lot easier and we also need more representatives from the different coastal villages.”
“The way we will have a better idea of what to do in each village, such as the need for cameras in Blind Bight, and having representatives of the different areas gives us an idea of what they need.”
To find out more about the Coastal Villages Neighbourhood Watch visit www.facebook.com/NHWcoastalvillages, call Danielle on 0407 760 918 or email nhwcostalvillages@gmail.com

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