Junee and Eurongilly community members, the Riverina Police District and Junee Shire Council have strengthened their efforts to stamping out rural crime following an engagement session on Wednesday.
The informal event included more than 60 members of the Eurongilly farming community, who came together for a lunchtime sausage sizzle with the police and the council at Eurongilly Community Hall.
Police Inspector Rob Vergano, officer in charge at June Police Station, said the session was instigated after several instances of suspicious activities were were reported.
This included a number of vehicles behaving suspiciously in the area at odd hours.
“They’re [community members] are our eyes in seeing any suspicious activities,” Inspector Vergano said.
“We basically talked about what they needed to do if they see anything suspicious, which included reporting the number plates to us.”
Concerns about several instances of drones being flown over properties for unknown reasons were also raised.
“We discussed and addressed the laws surrounding drones,” Inspector Vergano said.
“Residents were advised to report any suspicious activities and their details to us.
“They [attendees] were very supportive of us – likewise, we’re providing best police presence for them.”
The session comes about two months prior to a rural crime forum in Temora by the police district.
Inspector Vergano also outlined the focus on rural policing and how rural communities may report crime and information efficiently to help the police.
“It was also a session, similar to Coffee with a Cop, that let residents know we’re out there – it’s about proactive measures in tackling rural crime,” Inspector Vergano said.
It was also a session, similar to Coffee with a Cop, that let residents know we’re out there – about proactive measures in tackling rural crime.Rob Vergano, Junee Police Inspector
He was joined by other offices from the Southern and Riverina rural crime units and Junee Shire Council’s general manager James Davis.
Mr Davis provided details about council’s commitment to support police.
“From the council’s perspective, the community has raised their concerns about rural crime and the council has been sympathetic to that,” Mr Davis said.
“We’re now working closely with the police.
Asked about what commitment had been made, Mr Davis said they had certain resources at their disposal that were being deployed in the region.
“These include placing signage on rural roads that reinforce to residents that if they see suspicious activities, they may report it to the police,” Mr Davis said.
“We are meeting with the police every month to discuss how we can reinforce the relationship with community to ensure that we are being as belligerent as we can be.
“The session was about having all eyes on this issue and it will be benefit the community if suspicious activities are reported to the police.”
Mr Davis said the council was pleased with the responses from residents during the session.
From the council’s perspective, the community has raised their concerns about rural crime and the council has been sympathetic to that.James Davis, general manager at Junee Shire Council
Detective Sergeant Damian Nott, Southern Rural Crime Coordinator, outlined the investigative capability of the Rural Crime Prevention Team and called for the support of the community to prevent and detect rural crime.
In a statement, police said all presenters were united on this message and were “very impressed by the large attendance and sense of community among the group”.
“Early indication is that the information and advice provided had gone a long way to relieving concerns and built confidence that police and council were sincere in a united effort to protect rural communities,” the statement reads.
A number of farmers in the Junee and Eurongilly areas have been contacted for comments about rural crime.
The Riverina Police District encourages all members of the community to report suspicious behaviour and crimes in their areas.