Local crime hotspot set to be rejuvenated
JUVENILE convictions in Toormina are almost twice the rate of the state average, according to Attorney General Mark Speakman.
Mr Speakman visited Coffs Harbour this week to announce a NSW Government investment of $150,000 to rejuvenate the skate park in Toormina, a known juvenile crime hotspot, and fund a program aimed at alleviating the high crime rate.
"The skate park built around 20 years ago has fallen into disrepair. The community is frightened to go there," he said.
"At the end of the day, while we can spent taxpayer's money on courts, police and jail, it's far better to prevent the crime from happening in the first place," he said.
New gym equipment and footpaths will be installed at Toormina Skate Park to attract more visitors, including families who previously avoided the area due to safety concerns.
These works are expected to be complete by June.
Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser, also in attendance, said this will be in addition to new CCTV and lighting at the park that will be installed by Coffs Harbour City Council.
"Both upgrades will deter criminal activity, make it harder for offenders to avoid detection and assist police in gathering evidence," he said.
"Unfortunately, the skate park has become a crime hot spot with reports of vandalism, assaults and drug use, so these projects are vital for the community to reclaim ownership of this important asset."
The funds will also be used for a project, Get Connected, that aims to steer disadvantaged young people in Coffs Harbour away from crime.
Mid Coast Communities will work with local Aboriginal youth and other vulnerable young people to encourage healthy living, build self-esteem and develop skills.
"Local young people will take part in arts, sports and leadership programs in a safe and positive environment," Mr Fraser said.
"Nurturing young people who have had few opportunities in life can have huge social and economic benefits for the community."