Tackling crime requires a multi-faceted approach.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to address it — there needs to be engagement with at-risk groups, a focus on prevention and community education.
For some offenders, a punitive outcome is necessary and unavoidable depending on the nature of the crime, and justified in the eyes of many.
But from the policing side of things, we believe a number of worthwhile initiatives are taking place in our community for which our local police deserve a pat on the back.
One of those is what is called Operation Safe Plate — running in Tatura today — an event where volunteers work to swap standard number plate screws with theft-resistant one-way screws.
For a gold coin donation, members of the public can attend one of these days to have their screws changed and decrease their chance of having their number plates stolen.
It is a simple yet effective way to empower members of the community to do their bit to protect themselves from becoming victims of theft.
Yet this is only one example of the proactive policing seen throughout Greater Shepparton.
There’s Cool Heads, a road safety program for young drivers aimed at reducing the terrible impacts of road trauma on our roads.
It’s a highly successful initiative that last year celebrated its 10th anniversary and sees hundreds of participants attend each year, some obliged to be there by court order because of traffic offences.
Then there’s the work of the police that work with the youth in our region in an effort to engage with them and prevent them becoming involved in crime.
The proactive policing also extends to Facebook, where the Greater Shepparton police Eyewatch page is a wealth of information about steps the community can take in addressing crime, and in some cases assisting to solve outstanding matters.
And the community is actively encouraged to report crimes through Crime Stoppers, which has seen results in the past 12 months with alleged cannabis growing houses raided by local police being linked to information provided through this avenue.
There is no doubt tackling crime rates will always remain a work in progress, but we believe our local police are working hard to make Greater Shepparton the safest place possible.