Murray Bridge community safety plan for 2018-24 drafted

A CCTV camera. Photo: Paul Rovere.
A CCTV camera. Photo: Paul Rovere.

Domestic violence, mental health issues and drug and alcohol abuse are among the biggest threats to community safety in Murray Bridge, a report has suggested.

Homelessness, child safety, situational safety and elder safety are the others, according to the Murray Bridge Safe task force, a group of local professionals who deal with such issues every day.

They listed the seven priority areas in a draft community safety plan prepared for the city's council.

The plan, endorsed by councillors last month, sets out the ways in which the city's council, other organisations and individuals will respond to the problems between now and 2024.

Councillor Tyson Matthews said there was plenty of work to do, despite the establishment of the Murray Bridge Safe task force four years ago.

"Since 2015 there has been a pretty significant jump in how unsafe people feel in the community," he said at the council meeting.

Following the plan would show the council took the issue seriously, he said, and improve the city's "brand".

The plan recommended residents get to know their neighbours, not only to make friends but also to build a network of people who could keep an eye on each other's properties.

Joining community groups, getting out and about, attending workshops on safety and wellbeing and having a say during consultations were among the actions individuals could take to contribute to a safer community.

Meanwhile, the council could continue to host community events, workshops and forums; support groups such as Neighbourhood Watch; conduct home safety audits; provide a sharps disposal service; remove graffiti; and make public spaces more useful to youth and other residents.

It could also work with SA Police to ensure public safety, including through the two organisations' network of CCTV cameras.

"Health and safety are linked," the task force said in a statement.

"Our perceptions of safety influence our sense of wellbeing and our connection to our community.

"When people feel safe they are more likely to be actively involved in community life, with greater capacity to engage in social and recreational activities, education and employment."

Community members will be given a chance to provide input into the draft plan during an upcoming consultation period.

Should councillors vote to adopt the final plan, they would receive an annual report on the progress made in the seven priority areas.

The sense of community residents feel has previously been highlighted as one of Murray Bridge's strengths.

Drug use, crime and a lack of activities for youth were its main problems.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly quoted Cr Matthews.

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