ALL DONE: Ross Lane and Gary Toon collected almost 3,000 signatures for increased police presence on the coast
ALL DONE: Ross Lane and Gary Toon collected almost 3,000 signatures for increased police presence on the coast

‘It takes a village’, Yeppoon’s quest to help shire’s youth

HARSHER penalties won’t stop youth committing crime. What they need is mentors and activities to keep them busy, according to principal petitioner Gary Toon.

The Capricorn Coast resident was one of the driving forces behind the petition for more police officers in Yeppoon and an officer at the Police Citizens Youth Club, which was delivered in parliament last week.

While the petition garnered about 2700 signatures, Mr Toon said he expected to get more after reading about crime on local media sites every day.

“These youths are congregating in a certain place around town — you only have to go online to see the posts,” Mr Toon said.

He’s watched the town he grew up in change dramatically as crime becomes rampant.

“The crime is still apparent. (Last) Sunday was a bad one. Four main offenders kicked a guy’s car door in and I came along as he was chasing them down the street,” he said.

The petition was tabled on October 26 and was handed to Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer on Monday.

Mr Toon hopes all levels of government will work together to address the crime problem in Yeppoon.

“The public have spoken. They’ve got a petition done,” he said.

“The next stage is not to get penalties and get kids locked up but we do need to sit down with MPs and get activities set up with people that can mentor them.

“We’ve got to change their attitude to life. As they say it takes a village to raise a child.”

Mr Toon said more police were needed to address non-urgent incidents, which could take officers up to two hours to attend if it happened at night.

“Crime isn’t getting better and somebody has to start somewhere,” he said.

“It isn’t going to happen overnight but nothing is going to happen if we sit around and don’t do anything.”

Mr Toon expected to hear back from a parliament clerk within 40 days about what action the government would take.



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