On the beat in little Athens

first_imgWhat are the main types of crime you currently have to contend with? “We’ve really seen Oakleigh police station grow, it’s now very much a hub within the Monash Police Service area. We’ve got our uniformed presence, and we’ve always had a small Criminal Investigation unit here, but we’ve combined that into a single Monash Criminal Investigation Unit.”The big-ticket issues across the Monash area, which Oakleigh is a part of, are residential burglaries and vehicle crimes, and we’ve had some good successes recently with year to date reductions on burglary offences and successes in terms of offenders arrested. We established a Monash Investigation Team to look at residential burglaries, and that’s turned it around. We’re now concentrating on vehicle crimes, theft of motor cars and theft from motor cars. Recently we’ve seen a significant increase in thefts of cars. Across the city of Monash over a twelve-month period we’ve had close to 600 vehicles stolen, so that’s certainly our focus at the moment and we’re asking the community to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity. Oakleigh has often been a focus for hoon drivers: what have you been able to do to stop this kind of behaviour? We’ve put an enormous amount of resources into combating hoon driving in recent times, it comes and goes. We’ve got a highway patrol that operates out of Nunawading, but they’re constantly in this area assisting with this problem. Hoon driving more recently has involved the use of mobile phone texting and social networking sites like Facebook, which are used to get groups of people together quickly, so we have to respond to that. It’s one of the challenges we face today. We’re putting a lot of resources into this, and we’ve had successes in terms of seizing cars and charging a number of offenders. We have things in place that when they do come into this area, we can certainly tackle the problem. How has the role of the Oakleigh police station change in recent times? We’ve really seen Oakleigh police station grow, it’s now very much a hub within the Monash Police Service area. We’ve got our uniformed presence, and we’ve always had a small Criminal Investigation Unit here, but we’ve combined that into a single Monash Criminal Investigation Unit, which now operates out of Oakleigh. What we also have now is our Crime Scene Services Unit based here. They’re the ones, that if you’re unfortunate enough to have a residential burglary or a car stolen, they come and do the scientific examination, and it’s all based here. What measures have Victoria Police put in place to work with the culturally diverse communities that are here? It’s a very cosmopolitan area these days, it has a lot to offer, ethnically diverse, and it’s a real strength of the area. We’ve actually gone right into our cultural training with our members into how we interact with different communities and a lot of work goes on with the youth now. We have youth resource officers in the area that we work closely with Monash local government. Liz Sidiropoulos, based at Nunawading, heads up our Multicultural Unit, and that has been really effective in explaining our work to people from ethnically and linguistically diverse communities throughout Monash. As an officer who has been with the Victoria Police for 35 years, what changes have you seen in policing? Each generation creates opportunities and challenges, what’s changed in policing in recent times is the scientific side of things – what we’re able to do with forensic evidence at crime scenes. For instance DNA profiling has changed the scene for our investigators. What can the community do to help prevent crime? We’re really keen for the community to report any suspicious activity, at the end of the day we’ve got people who do break in to houses, do steal cars, and if the community does see anything, even if it is just a small bit of information, it can be very useful. We also encourage the use of Crimestoppers, either on the phone or using the Internet, and of course you always have access to the local police station. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more