When addressing rising crime in Yerrabi, there are two sides to consider: enforcement, and prevention. Both are important, but getting the balance right is what makes for a safer and more rounded society.
I’ve already announced that if elected, I will secure funding for a new purpose built police station to Gungahlin. The current station is too old, too small, and not fit for purpose, and we need adequate police resources to deal with the crime levels of the day.
Thinking to the future however, we need to be nurturing our youth so that we avoid high crime levels altogether. Life is more frantic than it has ever been for everyone, especially our youth. To help support our young people, I will bring a PCYC (Police Community Youth Club) presence to Gungahlin.
The PCYC achieves great outcomes on a modest budget, but imagine what they could do with a little more: better outcomes for at-risk young people, lower crime, safer neighbourhoods, and less money spent on “mopping up”. It is win-win.
Why do the PCYC’s bids for additional funding go unanswered? It is clearly a positive place to spend money, and the only roadblock I could find was political will. We need politicians who are willing to spend money today to save money in the future.
Fortunately, as an Independent I am not constrained by party politics, and can advocate for superior, cost effective solutions for the community.
Crime and community benefits
Crime in Gungahlin has been trending upward over the years. This trend is not surprising or cause for alarm given our population growth, but it is time to act.
An active PCYC presence has a track record of lowering crime in neighbourhoods. Gungahlin crime incidents tends to spike around school holidays, which is another indicator that PCYC will have tangible results.
I am proposing to relocate and expand the PCYC into Gungahlin, bringing new and existing jobs to the region.
A young person on the books with PCYC costs anywhere up to $30,000 per year. The cost of sending one young person through the justice system and ending up at Bimberi eclipses that. Every young person that PCYC can keep out of Bimberi saves future spending.
There are an average of 7-8 people detained in Bimberi on any given day. This puts the average yearly cost of detention at over $1,000,000. The government has previously argued that these costs are baseline overhead and don’t scale. There is truth to that, however the bottom line is we are still paying huge amounts to detain young people when there is a better way.
With a proven track record of around 85% success rate of re-engaging young people into education or vocations, this is an investment we cannot afford not to make.
The PCYC proposal
PCYC has submitted a proposal to various political parties in the lead up to the election, seeking funding and cooperation for the next term of government. Their proposal includes:
- Expand group services and after school sports services
- Co-locate with schools or other services
- Target the needs of Culturally and Linguistically diverse communities
- Run Project Booyah for Indigenous young people
- Provide education on Domestic Violence and Healthy Relationships
- Provide youth employment and training though social enterprise initiatives
- Fully fund the proposal submitted by PCYC of $6.1 million in 2021-2024.
- Connect the PCYC with a Social Enterprise Accelerator (already done), with a view to self-sustainability.