By Rowan Forster
A retired bank security specialist and bail justice from Officer has pioneered a State Opposition anti-crime tactic targeted for growth corridors such as Cardinia.
In a bid to combat Victoria’s escalating violence, an elected Guy Government will splash $38 million over four years on a seven-facet Crime Prevention Portfolio.
As part of the investment, $4 million will be allocated to the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) strategy – shaped by Officer’s Geoff Griffiths.
Mr Griffiths, who possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in preventing armed robberies, said the funding boost would see emerging estates, retail outlets and community spaces planned with safety as a priority.
“It’s a multifunctional methodology that incorporates architecture, urban design, psychology and criminology,” he said.
“At the moment, buildings are built without anyone thinking about the susceptibility to crime.
“It’s about making sure there are clear sightlines and new buildings are analysed to make sure they’re designed to prevent crime.”
When asked for an example of the strategy, the CPTED strategist mentioned Cardinia Shire’s new council offices.
“The reception is on the side so the staff facing a wall and can’t see who is coming in,” Mr Griffiths explained.
“They could have designed it so they have a direct sightline of people coming inside, so if someone comes in wearing a mask they can press a button and have shutters activated.”
Under the Guy Government’s pledged scheme, councils would be able to apply for state funding through a $24 million Public Safety Infrastructure fund.
Shadow Police Minister Edward O’Donohue slammed the current State Government for scrapping the existing Crime Prevention Portfolio.
He said the Coalition’s system would increase community safety and stifle the city’s growing crime rate.
“It was axed by the current government and most of the funding associated with it was slashed or cut,” he said.
“The key reason why this is in our policy is because of Geoff’s advocacy and making a case.
“We, as politicians, need to listen to members of the community with expertise from work or education, who can improve government framework.”
According to Mr Griffiths’, Cardinia Shire has also been extremely receptive to the tactic.
“Cardinia is the only municipality in the state that has set up a crime forum and a CPTED subcommittee,” Mr Griffiths said.
Some of his strategies to strengthen environmental crime prevention in residential areas include:
• Designing properties to have kitchens and living rooms at the street-front of homes.
• Using low or see-through fences between private buildings and public spaces.
• Removing obstructions such as overgrown vegetation.
• Having clearly defined property boundaries.
Gembrook MP Brad Battin said CPTED had already been adapted by a Clyde North aged care centre – yielding positive results.
“Selandra Rise on Clyde Rd was based on CPTED and if you stand in the park in the middle of that estate you can see down every major thoroughfare,” he said.
“It creates the visual that if you’re going to commit crime, you’ll feel like you’re being watched by everyone.”
As part of the Guy Government’s Crime Prevention Portfolio, funds would also be allocated to uphold community safety, support victims of organised crime, bankroll neighbourhood watch and strengthen graffiti prevention.