Street Safety for Businesses and Customers

CEO Update
Fremantle Chamber’s Small Business Retail Group decided to end the year in discussion with the City of Fremantle and WA Police on the continuing issues of safety on the streets of CBD Fremantle.

A week prior, the Fremantle Gazette featured a story on the success of a 3 week November collaboration between WA Police and City of Fremantle. Operation Spinal resulted in 72 charges, 50% being stealing related, and 70 people moved on.  Great news but we wanted more intel. The City of Fremantle was first out of the stalls with Community Safety Team Leader Chris Scanlan outlining the City’s priorities of CCTV, lighting and managing rough sleepers.   A Federal Government grant is the foundation to CCTV being expanded and improved across business and public zones from Leighton, to the CBD and through to South Fremantle. There has been significant local coverage of the technology but for reference you can read more on the City of Fremantle website.
Summer time will see an increase in rough sleepers, with many moving to Fremantle to avoid safety issues in the Perth CBD.  Mental health issues, especially those exacerbated by drug and alcohol, are continuing to rise but local services, such as St Pat’s and Alma Street, at more than capacity.  The City is looking at how it can better use its resources to get rough sleepers to move to community services. Street lighting has been a long-term issue for Fremantle but bit by bit improvements have happened. Princess May Park lighting was completed 6 months ago.  Pioneer Park remains the final black hole in need.  As one of Fremantle’s primary gateways, the lighting in this precinct has been astoundingly bad for decades and makes night time access between our train services and Fremantle’s entertainment precincts uncomfortable.
In July, WA Police’s CBD patrol came to an end. Issues escalated across the CBD and in November Operational Spinal tempered the activity because of the high profile presence of police, the arrests and move on notices. Snr Sgt Phil Gazzone highlighted that Fremantle crime statistics are the lowest for 3 years and out of the 8 districts across the metropolitan area, Fremantle is the third lowest for crime. Naturally, there is a sense disbelief from the small business sector concerned the low statistic and suspect the rate is as a result of non-reporting. For WA Police, it is about working together to change the perception of Fremantle as a dangerous place.  If there is reporting that is not happening, make sure it does.  The only way the Police get intel is through community circle groups and direct reporting. Henderson Street Mall fights have reduced with the closure of the late-night taxi rank, with the City preferring to spread out the hail market across the street scape.  The Cappuccino Strip will be monitored for shifting of problem areas following the closure of Hungry Jacks. WA Police will also be targeting the beach zone from Fremantle to Cottesloe, and Operation Safer Beaches through to end of Feb – it will horses, flashing lights and every known form of alcohol and drug detection. After the success of Operation Spinal, we have to wait and see if we get to experience a continued increase presence of police in CBD Fremantle.  Stay tuned!
Don’t forget – if something happens call 131 444.

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