Common sense, a different perspective and a love for Wagga are what the community representatives of a newly established group to combat crime promise to bring to the table.
On Monday, the Crime Prevention Working Group will meet for the first time, and four voting members were hand-picked to be the voice of the city's residents.
Thomas Gardiner, 19, a self-described "armchair critic", decided enough was enough, and it was time to take action.
He added that his young age would bring a different perspective to the table, one that is often left unheard.
Mr Gardiner was born and raised in Wagga, making him passionate about the issues the city is facing.
"I don't know how long I am going to be here for, but if I am going to be here for the next 10 years I don't what it to be riddled with crime," he said.
Mr Gardiner said he was ready to get to work and meet other members of the committee.
"I think, starting off, we need to be realistic about the issue," he said. "If you are going to beat around the bush, then you are not going to do anything, but if you tackle it head-on, you are most likely to get more solutions."
Kat van der Wijngaart has worked in criminal law - on the "back-end of crime" - with the people who are going through the justice system.
She jumped at the chance to work with a team to prevent crime where possible.
"There are a lot of reasons why people commit crimes or make mistakes, and often they are not nefarious," she said. "They are not bad people doing bad things because they want to, there are reasons."
Ms van der Wijngaart has three areas she wants to see addressed: theft and property crimes, domestic violence and drug-related crimes.
She added a vital issue is that crime prevention cannot be approached with the idea that if money is thrown at it, it will be solved.
"I would like to see us take stock of what is around now and make sure all of those services ... are being utilised," Ms van der Wijngaart said. "There are so many programs that are already funded, but a lot of people don't know about, or they are not being utilised to their full potential."
Ms van der Wijngaart said she hopes the community members who are not sure if this will be a productive solution will give the group a chance.
Justin Busuttil has a background in law enforcement and protective security in government and industry.
"It's a skill set I have to give back to the community," he said. "It's a rarity that you can give back with something in your toolbox."
Mr Busuttil said he understood why some members of the community might question if the committee would be productive.
"I am going in with a positive mind and attitude. I want to give it the opportunity to do well," he said.
Mr Busuttil added it was the public's job is to hold the Crime Prevention Working Group to account.
He said it was also essential to understand the differences between factual and perceived crime and the impact they have on the community.
Mr Busuttil said he would also be taking the pragmatic approach that crime could not be eradicated.
"We need to treat the causes, not just the symptoms," he said. "Once you accept that you are not going to stop but reduce it as much as you can, that's when you can make a change."
Mr Busuttil said crime in Wagga is not just a police issue but a social issue.
"I have a simple mindset - you are part of the solution, or you are part of the problem," he said. "We need to look out for each other."
Saba Nabi decided to put up her hand as a member to represent the migrant community.
"Sometimes they feel if they report a crime they might be deported or that they are infringing the visa, which is not true," she said.
"I wanted to be a voice for the people who unheard. I wanted to be a link between the officials and the community."
Dr Nabi said she would be advocating for more lighting and more education in the community in regards to reporting crimes.
"We should also be promoting resources among the community," she said. "I am looking forward to getting to the first meeting and starting the work."
Group with a purpose
Wagga's newest taskforce is ready to combat crime after weeks of preparation.
Wagga City Council formed the Crime Prevention Working Group in response to rising concerns from the community.
Its primary role will be to provide advice to council and support other critical agencies on strategies or priorities for preventing crime.
A council report stated that 61 per cent of crimes committed in 2016 were done so by young people between the ages of 10 and 29.
The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research's latest data shows from March 2018 to March 2019, Tolland, Ashmont, Central, Turvey Park and Lake Albert were some of the suburbs that saw an overall drop in the number of crimes committed from the previous 12 months.
Central Wagga ranked the highest for domestic violence-related assaults, stealing from motor vehicles and motor vehicle thefts, and East Wagga ranked the highest for break and enters into non-dwellings.
Domestic violence-related assaults, break and enters into non-dwellings, stealing from motor vehicles and motor vehicle thefts were all on the rise in the Wagga Local Government Area.
- Commander Bob Noble - Wagga Police
- Inspector Adrian Telfer - Wagga Police
- Dr Joe McGirr - Member for Wagga Wagga
- Andrew Stockman - Department of Premier and Cabinet
- Neil Caldicott - Department of Family and Community Services
- Simone Jolly - Department of Justice
- Colin Taggart - Neighbourhood Watch
- Mayor Cr Greg Conkey - Wagga Wagga City Council
- Councillor Kerry Pascoe - Wagga Wagga City Council
- Councillor Paul Funnell - Wagga Wagga City Council
- Councillor Tim Koschel - Wagga Wagga City Council
- Thomas Gardiner - Under 25 Community Member
- Saba Nabi
- Justin Busuttil
- Kat van der Winjngaart
- Janice Summerhayes - Wagga Wagga City Council
- Lisa Saffery - Wagga Wagga City Council
- Madeleine Scully - Wagga Wagga City Council