Richmond Valley Mayor calls for 24-hour policing at Casino

POLICE dogs and 24-hour policing are urgently needed to combat Casino's growing petty crime and violence, Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett has said.

The call for 24-hour policing follows a weekend where two cars were stolen and burnt out in the CBD, and a man was stabbed in a domestic incident the weekend before.

Currently if the Casino Police Station is closed, officers have to come from Lismore or Ballina.

Cr Bennett said habitual criminals knew when police knocked off and became "very active" as soon as the shift finished.

A recent community survey revealed 93% of Casino residents did not feel safe in the streets after dark.

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Cr Bennett said even councillors were having "close encounters" with violent crime.

He said one man decided to relocate his family out of town, partly because he was assaulted after walking home from the pub.

Asked if there was a breaking point the mayor said: "To drive into town (last) Monday morning and see a car burnt out in the main street.

"There's numerous cars stolen from out of town and burnt out...when it's got to a point that they don't even take them out of town to burn them, it's got really over the top.

"The police do a fantastic job, but they are definitely under-resourced."

"The mayor said he believed police dogs could also be useful to tackle petty crime plaguing the CBD.

"A lot of young people are hell-bent on vandalising and they're pretty swift on their feet...I think dogs would be handy for catching some of those people."

Detective Sergeant Tony King from the Police Association said the problem was indicative of a general lack of police staffing numbers across the northern region.

Cr Bennett and general manager John Walker plan to sit down with NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher this week in Sydney.

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