In the three weeks since it has been established, Moree Mobile Neighbourhood Watch group has already played a significant role in helping to reduce crime in town and these efforts have not gone unnoticed.
The group has been inundated with support from all sectors of the community, and most recently, both local and state government have pitched in to offer a total of $5,000 to go towards purchasing surveillance equipment to aid them in their efforts to be an extra set of eyes and ears for police.
On Wednesday, Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall announced $2,500 in funding for the group to match Moree Plains Shire Council’s contribution during a visit with Minister for Police Troy Grant and Western Region Police Commander Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie.
“The fact that this group was established and it’s been so well supported is a really strong and positive sign about the resilience and community spirit here in Moree,” Mr Marshall said.
“I hope this support today encourages that group to continue the great work they’re doing.”
Mr Grant said the NSW police force was fully supportive of the Moree Mobile Neighbourhood Watch.
“The work that has been occurring here is inspiring; to see the community stand up and say we’re going to confront our challenges is a real positive sign,” he said.
“The future of Moree will be very sound if everyone continues to show the leadership from each of the government agencies in this community and continue to work together in such a positive way.”
Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said police welcome any assistance the community can provide.
“I think it’s fantastic that the community wants to get involved,” he said.
“The community is out there 24/7 in all the places, we’re not. We need the community to be our eyes and ears to provide that information, to let us know where these bikes are and we’ll go and seize them; let us know who’s committing the offences, who’s dealing drugs in Moree and we’ll lock them up. That’s what it’s about, the community and police working together to achieve a better outcome for people.”
While Moree Mobile Neighbhourhood Watch has seen a significant amount of anti-social behaviour, there have been many reports from the community that the level of criminal activity has reduced since the nightly patrols have begun.
“It’s had a noticeable impact,” Moree Mobile Neighbourhood Watch spokesperson Chris Binge said.
“Now it’s about momentum and keeping it going.”
From what started out as a small group of 20 men, the Neighbourhood Watch group has now grown to more than 60 people which means a full roster and back-ups for nightly patrols.
Those who are unable to do the patrols have been more than willing to support the group in other ways, from donations of equipment, fuel and food vouchers, to offering to do admin tasks or making sandwiches and slices to keep the men well fed and alert.
“It’s all very positive,” Mr Binge said.
“The most encouraging thing is to see the increase in support across the whole community, every sector has gotten behind us.”
More on community donations to the group here.