Casino fights to take back town
STORIES of crime and frustrations over what to do about it were contrasted with an underlying passion for their town by Casino residents last night.
The Casino Chamber of Commerce organised the call to action meeting, attended by nearly 80 people, in response to the town's soaring crime rates and worrying incidence of anti-social behaviour.
Candidates for the state seat of Clarence opened the meeting with promises of what they would do to combat crime.
Country Labor candidate Peter Ellem spoke of a petition for 24-hour policing; Nationals candidate Chris Gulaptis committed to getting more police for the electorate; and Greens candidate Janet Cavanaugh put forward a more holistic approach.
That was before a member of the audience reminded the political panel the meeting was not an election forum.
It was when the microphone was handed to the audience that heartfelt solutions to the town's predicament emerged.
Gary Miller from the River Park Motor Inn uprooted his family and moved to Casino from Newcastle two years ago.
"We need to do something with the youth of the town," he said.
"Fine their parents if they are at the pubs and clubs while the kids are doing this. It's (the parents') responsibility, not ours, not council's and the not the police."
Another fiery resident agreed and said it was time to re-educate the parents.
Jason Goulding from Car Sound FX suggested a mentoring program, which received the night's highest praise.
"If we were to share with the up and coming youth, we could shape our community," he said.
Other solutions added to an action plan that will be reassessed at another meeting down the track included a night-time curfew for youth, a youth centre and CBD surveillance.
The audience also heard that the town's police station had an authorised strength of 17 but needed a minimum of 25 officers to become a 24-hour station.
Casino police Inspector Rob Cairnduff said it was generally a "small minority" of people committing crime.
"It's a tough job for police, (offenders) are going before the courts, being put on bail and they are re-offending," he said.
What would help cut crime in Casino? Leave a comment below.