Ballina laneway's a 'safety risk'
By MARY MANN
BALLINA'S lanes and alleyways pose a threat to community safety, a recent safety audit of the town has found.
Audit inspector Garry Groves said while he had seen a lot worse in other towns, Ballina really needed to give its lanes and alleys some attention.
Dark, unfrequented alleys were the perfect spot for criminals to pounce, he said.
"A good idea is closing off dark alleys at night," he said.
"You can also promote them during the day through landscaping and coffee carts, which get more people to use them and means they become less of an easy target for crime.
"Criminals don't want to act when there are people around."
Maintenance of gates and gardens also needed addressing, he said.
In places like Fawcett Park, shrubs left to grow too big provided an easy hidey-hole for criminals.
"Gates on arcades and lighting in streets and along the river walkway need to be maintained too, otherwise there is no point in having them," he said.
Diane Parker, owner of Cafe 29, which has been broken into in recent months, said she hoped the audit would find a way to reduce crime in the CBD.
"I've been robbed twice and I'm sick of it," she said.
Ballina Chamber of Commerce secretary Bryan Marriott and president Glenn Costello also attended the audit.
Mr Marriott said it was something Ballina needed.
"We've had a fair bit of crime here in recent times and we need to do whatever we can to improve the safety of the CBD," he said.
Also among the participants was Ballina Shire Council's manager of open spaces and reserves, Jillian Pratten.
The findings of the audit will be presented in a report to the Richmond LAC and Ballina Shire Council.
Crime prevention officer Snr Const Michael Hogan said the council would then have the opportunity to implement the recommendations, and could apply for Federal Government crime prevention grants to help fund them.