Russell Webb.DEPUTY mayor Russell Webb has reacted with dismay and disgust at the latest sporting-ground vandalism – and he’s backed up calls for public help to catch the crims.
The chairman of the city’s crime watchdog committee was speaking after the extraordinary response from cricket authorities, who are outraged over the latest damage at Riverside 2 – and the huge cost in dollars and lost play – and have offered a reward to track down the culprits.
Cr Webb was very keen to get measures in place immediately to deter and catch future perpetrators.
“We’re looking at getting a report to council to look at ways to close off traffic access to the ovals earlier but keep the parking near the baseball fields open,” he said.
“We’ll also look at installing fixed cameras and sending mobile CCTV units to help catch perpetrators and discourage future vandalism.”
This is the second time in less than a month the oval has been targeted, and Cr Webb said the petty act would affect the whole community.
“As a community representative, I am disgusted by the damage and, ultimately, the community bears the cost,” he said.
On initial inspection, Cr Webb said the field would be out of action for some time.
Cr Webb is also chairman of the council’s crime prevention committee. While he listed surveillance and limiting access as top of his agenda to curb vandalism, he also said the harshest possible punishment should be passed down once the vandals were caught.
“We can’t let them get off with a slap on the wrist,” he said.
“We have to make sure there is a heavy deterrent there.”
The latest act of vandalism comes just days after a violent armed robbery at the Hillvue Convenience Store sparked calls for more fixed CCTV surveillance in Tamworth’s outer suburbs.
“There have been numerous requests for CCTV in the wider community,” Cr Webb said.
The deputy mayor said the mobile surveillance units had been successful in identifying criminals and leading to a number of charges being laid.
Cr Webb encouraged residents to contact the council if they felt they were in an area where CCTV could help.
With the successes of the mobile CCTV system, Cr Webb said the council would be looking for funding from the state and federal governments to expand fixed and mobile surveillance services.
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