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    Police Senior Sergeant Brendan Broadbent

Wimmera police: Seek alternatives to theft

Wimmera police have urged people struggling with finances leading up to Christmas to avoid turning to crime and instead seek out alternative ways of making ends meet.

Police have reported an increase in theft from businesses across the region and suspect figures reflect people trying to meet unrealistic expectations.

Senior Sergeant Brendan Broadbent of Horsham said the Christmas period represented a financially stressful time for many people, but it was unacceptable for them to turn to crime.

“It’s not too surprising that recently there’s been a reported increase in theft from local businesses, especially the type of goods being stolen. But there are other options available to people experiencing hardship rather than resorting to theft,” he said.

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Sen Sgt Broadbent said the rise in theft involved everyday essentials such as food, toiletries and other grocery items, which pointed to a response to socio-economic circumstances.

“We recognise that the festive season can put a burden on the purse strings, with people being expected to buy Christmas gifts, when sometimes they’re struggling to put food on the table,” he said.  

“We want to send a message that there are options available to people experiencing hardship, rather than resorting to stealing.”

Sen Sgt Broadbent said there were several community agencies throughout the region specifically designed to help people enduring economic hardship.

“The great news in all of this is that in our regional communities we have agencies and organisations that can help families and individuals cope with what can be a terribly tough time,” he said.

“There is no need for people to turn to crime, especially for basic items.”

Sen Sgt Broadbent said police officers would continue to target and patrol known hotspots in an effort to detect, disrupt and apprehend offenders, while at the same time keeping the community safe. 

Police have urged anyone in a broader Horsham-Grampians police area facing hardship to consider approaching agencies designed to help people in need including –

Salvation Army Horsham: Located at 12 Kalkee Road. People can call 5382 1770 between 9am and 5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday or 9.30am to 5pm on Thursday.

Salvation Army Ararat: Located on the corner of Vincent and High streets. Ararat Salvation Army is part of a welfare hub with the involvement of five district churches. People can call 5352 2720 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm for help.

Vinnies Horsham: Located at 9 David Street, Horsham. People can call 5381 2371 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm for assistance.

Christian Emergency Food Centre, Horsham: Located at 28 Firebrace Street. People can call 5381 2311 or 5382 1326 for support. The centre is available to people in the municipalities of Hindmarsh, Horsham, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack as well as parts of Buloke and Northern Grampians.

Stawell Inter-Church Council Welfare – The Cottage: Located at 20 Sloane Street, the centre provides emergency relief with extra help at Christmas including food vouchers and new toys and books to children aged 13 and under. The Cottage is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.30am to 12.30pm. People can call 0408 038 949 for out-of-hours emergencies. 

Sen Sgt Broadbent also reminded people to always be conscious of the risk of burglary.

“These types of crimes are almost always opportunistic, with offenders entering homes either through open or unlocked doors and windows to steal items, including car keys,” he said.

“In most cases, offenders are doing this while the home owner is not present. 

“We ask that everyone in the community ensures their homes are secured at all times and we strongly encourage people call triple zero regarding any suspicious behaviour as quickly as possible. 

“This gives police the opportunity to attend and apprehend any offenders as soon as possible.”

The entire December 4, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!