Crime & Prevention

The ugly truth about domestic violence

Peter Garrett, who did the voice over in the film and introduced the film at the launch, and Senior Constable Daniel Greef, LAC Crime Prevention Officer who assisted in the making of the film. MB

The Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee who initiated the film made by Earthstar Productions, with Peter Garrett and Daniel Greef. MB

 

Peter Garrett, Police, the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee and Fran Dobie, with Amadeo Marquez-Perez, from Earthstar Productions who directed and produced the film.MB

Editorial by Melissa Blewitt.

‘Little Towns, Big Voices’ is a film that lays bare the ugly truth of domestic violence. It showcases the harrowing experiences of local people and the effects it has on their families. It is 28 minutes of raw and confronting truth, which portrays the brutality of domestic violence unflinchingly.

There is no other label, other than monster, that is befitting of the man who inflicted years of physical and mental torture on the woman, whose experiences are the main focus of the documentary.

The abuse began on her wedding night. “He had too much to drink and gave me a hiding,” she said in the documentary. From there it only got worse, and she tried to protect her children as much as possible. She recalled how one night, her husband “had too much to drink” and began arguing with the children about what was on the television.

“I knew what was coming, so I asked him to take it out on me instead of the kids. And he did.” She said he never really touched her face, but chose areas that could be concealed under clothing.

He was a “good looking” man, and this often blinded outsiders to the extent of his sadistic nature.

“When I went to doctors, they never once told me to go to the Police. I wondered later why they never told me to,” she said on the documentary.

If she was two minutes late getting home from work, he would have the masking tape sat on the top of the fridge waiting.

He would tie her up on a chair and inflict unimaginable horror on her body.

Not content with belting her, he would also throw steaming hot cups of coffee over her, as she lay in agony from the beatings.

There came a point where she became “dead inside”. There is no way many of us could understand what it feels like to get to such a point. Why didn’t she leave? “Where would we go?,” was her answer.

On the night she worked up the courage to leave, she took her daughter out of the front door and across the paddock and walked up the road. “I contacted my son, and he told me to hide in the grass, so he couldn’t find me. So I did.

He came and told me that his girlfriend was following him, and that we should get in her car, as he was going to sort him out.”

Not content with the mental and physical pain he inflicted, her husband burned the family home to the ground after she had gone.

“There was nothing left.” “It took the Police two days to find him, and when it went to Court his mother hired a barrister and he got off with 200 hours of community service.”

The fear of him returning haunts her every day. “He always said, if I left him he would come back and finish me. I have a local policeman on speed dial, because I believe he will.”

I want to congratulate the Lachlan Domestic Violence Committee on their brilliant documentary. It just goes to show what a DV Committee in a small town can achieve if it puts its mind to something.

This has been a 10-year long project, which began with a vision to create a film on domestic violence and the effects it has on women, families and children.

And now it has become a reality. What an amazing achievement. A special mention for Heather Blackley, whose determination and commitment ensured the project came to fruition. She is a community force to be reckoned with. Thanks must also go to Director Fran Dobbie, Producer Amadeo Marquez-Perez, Earthstar Productions, LAC Crime Prevention Officer Daniel Greef, NSW Police and Western Plains Regional Development.

It is hoped that a major network will pick up the film and get the message into mainstream media. The DV Committee is now also in the process of having the film put through the Australian Teachers of Media for a study guide, which will then be able to be implemented into all schools PD/H/PE curriculum. This was made possible by donations from Aboriginal Strategic Direction Crime Prevention Grant, NSW Police Force; House With No Steps, Forbes, Forbes Evening CWA Branch and Begderabong CWA Branch.

Domestic Violence can happen anywhere in any home.

It could be happening next door to you.

It took so much courage for this particular woman to come forward and share her story.

I ask, now that the community also have courage, and report any incidents of domestic violence to Police.

We must all speak up to ensure that those that need our help most, know that there is hope.

We must not hide the ugly truth of domestic violence any longer.

MB

Police pursuit in Condobolin

Sergeant Peter Gibson pictured with a stolen car involved in a police pursuit in Condobolin last week. DG

By Dominic Geiger

A man and woman from Queensland have been charged with a number of offences after leading police on a high speed chase through the streets of Condobolin last Wednesday.

Highway patrol officers initiated the pursuit after coming across a stolen vehicle on the northern side of town.

The driver then lead police on a five minute chase before leaving the car on the corner of McDonnell and Cunningham Street.

Police then arrested two backseat passengers, both from Condobolin, while the female front seat passenger was arrested a short distance from the car.

Police allege the driver of the vehicle then broke into a nearby house before showering, shaving and changing his clothes in order to change his appearance and evade police.

Police were notified of the driver’s whereabouts when the owner of the house returned home to find the alleged perpetrator still inside.

Police then arrested the driver a short distance from the house.

He has since been charged with driving in a manner dangerous, Skye’s Law, break and enter and will now face Parkes Local Court on September 8.

The two Condobolin residents who were in the back seat of the vehicle have been released without charge as they aided police with their investigations and were unaware the car was stolen.

The female passenger faced court the day following the incident on charges of steal motor vehicle and knowingly being carried in a stolen vehicle.

She pleaded guilty to all charges and received a fine.

Condobolin Police Sergeant, Peter Gibson, said he wanted to thank the community for assistance with locating the driver of the vehicle.

Editorial-Social media makes defamation as easy as one, two, tweet

By Dominic Geiger

Anyone who uses Facebook or Twitter should undergo defamation training.

There, I’ve finally said it. That sense of irritation after viewing countless jaded lovers, frustrated friends and embittered families commit defamation against those who have wronged them on Facebook or Twitter’s public forums has finally got to me. As a member of the media, I, along with everyone else who publishes information, am bound by the laws of libel. I am not allowed to make public, slanderous, false accusations under the guise of truthful statements. Such offenses are punishable in a court of law. It doesn’t even matter if only a small number of people read these statements, as it only takes three people for a defamation case to be instigated: the perpetrator, the victim and a member of the public. So if I can be fined and even imprisoned for making false, damaging accusations to even one member of the public, why should someone with 500+ friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter feel as though they will be treated any differently?

The truth of the matter is that historically, social media defamation victims have been less likely to press charges against perpetrators of libel than if they were defamed in, for example The Sydney Morning Herald. Recently however, this has begun to change. Many criminal cases of defamation committed via social network sites have started appearing around the world.

Even our own rural community of Condobolin hasn’t managed to escape such controversies, with Condobolin police currently investigating a complaint from a teenager who was defamed via Facebook. Speaking to The Condobolin Argus late last month, a Parkes police spokesperson said the page, which has been designed to impersonate a Condobolin teenager, contained “names and comments of a distressing nature.” Police have since been liaising with Facebook officials, however as Facebook requires a court-issued subpoena before they will hand over material, the case has been progressing slowly.

Then there was the case of Condo Goss, the notorious Facebook page created by an ‘anonymous’ user who used the site for the sole purpose of spreading malicious rumours about different Condobolin residents. Recently, the site has disappeared, however a reactionary Facebook page attacking the Condo Goss site still remains.

Nothing is easier than feeling anonymous on social media websites. The ability to create fake profiles, view online information without contributing and the relative ease of hacking a friend’s Facebook or Twitter account have all led internet users to feel as though they can do as they please on the web. The problem with this sense of anonymity is that it is false. Every computer has an IP address, its own little electronic signature if you will. Though difficult to achieve, police can obtain IP addresses from both Facebook and Twitter.

So next time you’re sitting with your laptop or iPhone in a huff because your significant other, friend or family member has wronged you, think twice before you publish something hurtful and untrue. You’re nowhere near as anonymous as you might think.

Dirty discovery pushes Condo farmers into debt

Brett Reardon with his children Damon and Jada. Brett is out of pocket after the fertiliser shipment he organised turned out to be dirt. DGBy Dominic Geiger

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service has come under scrutiny this week following revelations eleven Condobolin farmers were sold 600 tonnes of Chinese dirt under the premise it was high grade fertiliser.

The farmers are now collectively out of pocket approximately $300,000 and are continuing to be charged for the storage costs associated with the dirt, which has been sitting in a Sydney holding facility since May 12.

The shipment was not inspected upon arrival in Sydney because it was separated into individual bags weighing less than 50 kilograms.

Quarantine officials have told the Condobolin agent behind the deal, Brett Reardon, that he must either pay to have the soil destroyed in a furnace near Geelong or return it to China.

Returning the soil would be the cheaper option, however Chinese officials are now refusing to accept the dirt.

The Chinese company that supplied the product has also recently disappeared from the Chinese government registered trading site alibaba.com.

Brett said he had organised the shipment on behalf of the farmers through a Canberra based fertiliser importer.

“I’d organised other fertiliser shipments through [the importer] a few years back but never through this company,” he said.

“I’d taken deposits from the farmers for 600 tonnes of fertiliser for a May delivery however two of the companies we were going through couldn’t deliver on time.

“Then we found this new company who said they could deliver in May.”

Brett said the realisation they’d been duped only came after a farmer in Parkes identified the product as dirt, rather than fertiliser.

“It made it through quarantine in Sydney because of how it was packaged,” he said.

“As soon as the farmer in Parkes realised it wasn’t fertiliser we stopped any further movements immediately.

“We’re currently being charged $3000 a day for storage of the product and Quarantine has informed us that we will need to pay for it.”

Brett estimates he is now personally $5000 out of pocket as a result of the dealings.

“I’m hoping we can get some sort of compensation for the farmers.”

Liberal Senator for NSW, Bill Heffernan, said the incident was a major breach in Australian quarantine.

“The dirt has been able to make it through customs due to the bizarre way in which it was packed,” he said.

“Whoever has supplied this soil has done it in a way that made it through the system.

“The shipment was organised through an accredited trading website, so this doesn’t say much for customs.

“Both the government and the Chinese Embassy haven’t shown any interest in this either.”

A statement from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service said the shipment was “an unusual consignment and was incorrectly declared as a low risk product.”

“This is why it was not originally inspected by AQIS.

“Almost all fertiliser used in Australia is imported in bulk by companies which have been profiled and are subject to AQIS controls.

“When goods are seized by AQIS because they do not meet the import conditions, the importer is required to bear the costs of any treatment, including re-export.

“Future consignments from this exporter will be closely scrutinised.”

Crime report

• Police investigate facebook harassment

Police are investigating the creation of an offensive Facebook page in Condobolin.

The page, which has been designed to impersonate a Condobolin teenager, contains “names and comments of a distressing nature.”

A Parkes Police Spokesperson said police were liaising with Facebook officials to have the site removed.

“The site was created in mid May and was reported by the victim’s parents to police on June 6,” the spokesperson said.

“Investigations are continuing, but police are encouraging anyone with information on the incident to contact the Condobolin Police Station.”

• Break and Enters in Condobolin

Police are currently investigating a number of break and enters that occurred in Condobolin over the weekend.

The offences occurred late last Friday night and early last Saturday morning.

Forensic evidence relevant to the crimes is currently being assessed.

Police are urging all residents to be vigilant in ensuring security of their premises each night by locking all doors and windows.

• Vehicle Theft in Condobolin

Police are currently investigating the theft of two vehicles in Condobolin early last Saturday morning.

The vehicles, which were later recovered, were stolen from Orange and Bathurst Street.

Forensic evidence relating to these crimes is currently being assessed.

Police are urging all residents to be diligent in reporting suspicious behaviour or crime.

Reports can be made either in person or over the phone.

As many crimes are solved with community assistance, any information you may think is minor or irrelevant, may prove useful in convicting offenders. Reports of suspicious or criminal behaviour can be made to Condobolin Police on 02 68952577 or anyone may contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

Parkes electorate amongst worst for illegal tobacco

Compiled by Dominic Geiger

The Federal seat of Parkes has recently been ranked twelfth in terms of illegal tobacco sold in Australia following a British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) commissioned Deloitte report.

The report showed that over 26,000 kilograms of illegal tobacco was sold in the Parkes electorate last year which in turn cost taxpayers over $10 million in lost tobacco excise.

Mark Coulton, who currently holds the seat of Parkes, said although he doesn’t dispute the findings, they do surprise him.

“[Prior to seeing this report], I had no knowledge this was occurring,” he said.

“26,000 kilograms is a lot of cigarettes.

“No members of the community or police have ever mentioned anything about any illegal tobacco in Parkes.”

A spokesperson for BATA said in addition to the Deloitte report, BATA worked closely with state and federal police to verify the figures.

Parkes was one of the few rural electorates ranked in the top twenty for illegal tobacco in the country, with the majority of high ranking electorates being in metropolitan areas.

British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) CEO, David Crow is concerned that illegal tobacco sales will only get worse in the Parkes electorate under the unprecedented plain packaging legislation.

“The illegal tobacco black market has grown 150% over the last three years and plain packaging will only fan the flames and allow criminals to profit further,” Mr Crow said.

“The Government needs to do more to stop organised crime gangs dealing in black market tobacco across our suburbs.”

BATA has developed a website which outlines the size and scope of illegal tobacco in each Australian electorate.

The website, www.illegaltobacco.com.au, ranks all electorates in the country, shows the excise lost and the amount of illegal tobacco sold in each area as well as further information on the issue.

 

Accidents and incidents

Man charged with break and enter in Condobolin

By Dominic Geiger

Police have charged a 21 year old male with four counts of break and enter in Condobolin over the weekend.
The alleged offender was apprehended on Saturday morning at approximately seven am after smashing a number of windows on the southern side of Bathurst Street.
A spokesperson from Condobolin police said alcohol was being considered a factor in the incident.
“A small amount of property was also stolen,” the spokesperson said.
“That property has since been recovered.”
The alleged offender will appear before the Condobolin Local Court on Tuesday July 5.
The police spokesperson said the offender had been apprehended thanks to a witness report.
“Because of the good work of a community member who alerted police and provided a good description of the alleged offender, police were able to make an arrest.”

Car Accident

Police were called to the scene of a car accident approximately seven kilometres from Condobolin on the Gum Bend Road last Saturday at 3am.
A spokesperson for Parkes police said it appeared the car had rolled after leaving the road and was found on its roof.
“No one was found inside the vehicle upon police attendance,” the spokesperson said.
“Police are now making inquiries in to who the possible driver and owner of the vehicle could be.
“Any members of the public with information about the incident are encouraged to call Condobolin police.”

Car Fire

Condobolin police, fire brigade and an ambulance were called to a vehicle fire in the car park behind the Imperial Hotel on the corner of Bathurst and McDonnell Streets last Saturday night.
A police spokesperson said at the time of police arrival, the red Ford Falcon was well alight and was eventually completely destroyed in the blaze.
“It appears the owner started the vehicle and a short time later the fire started for an unknown reason,” the spokesperson said.
“The owner of the vehicle escaped uninjured.
“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the blaze.”

Keeping stock of livestock

Compiled by Dominic Geiger

Police from across regional NSW including the Lachlan Area Command recently took part in a four day training workshop in Tamworth to learn how to bust stock rustlers.
Seventeen Rural Crime Investigators (RCIs) from across the state attended the course from May 9-12, where they learned the tracking procedures of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) database for cattle, sheep and goats.
Phillip Tooth, Lachlan Shire landowner and someone who knows firsthand about the problem of stock rustling, said his dealings with the Parkes police stock squad following the theft of lambs from his property had been very positive.
“It’s very difficult for police; tracking stock isn’t an easy thing to do,” he said.
“Fortunately, some of my stock was recovered.
“Stock rustling is something I think is becoming more of a problem with the increase in stock prices.”
“I want to recommend to any other farmers suffering from this problem to go to the police stock squad as they were incredibly helpful.”
Western Region’s Rural Crime Sponsor, Detective Inspector Greig Stier, said the specialist training that occurred at the Tamworth meeting was essential for RCIs.
“Our officers attended two authorised properties for hands-on experience and demonstrations in the handling of livestock,” he said.
“They were also required to incorporate the NLIS training from the previous two days to identify animals and run reports from the NLIS database.”
Attendees also completed the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) StockSafe course, which taught them how to handle stock properly and safely in the field.
The course covered areas such as Occupational Health and Safety, animal behaviour and animal welfare.

Vandals attack family and community services

Happy Daze coffee lounge discovered the damage to their front window on Sunday morning.By Dominic Geiger

Yet another spate of senseless vandalism has struck Condobolin over the weekend with local police receiving reports of smashed windows, scratched cars and damaged council facilities.
At least six businesses on Bathurst Street had their windows smashed or cracked, with owners discovering the damage on both Sunday and Monday morning.
One of the luckier businesses was left with only a footprint on their front door, suggesting the perpetrator was kicking the shop fronts as he or she travelled down Bathurst Street.
Owner of Happy Daze, Shirley Bell, said she was appalled someone would attack her store for no reason.
“What can you do about it?” she said.
“Until something serious is done, this [vandalism] isn’t going to stop.
“They should catch [whoever] did this, make them serve time or make them pay for the repairs.
“If it’s a juvenile, the parents should be made to pay the bill.”
A spokesperson for Condobolin Police called on any members of the community with information about the incident to contact the Condobolin Police Station.
The vandalism on the main street coincided with a malicious attack on a car belonging to the owner of Condobolin Newsagency, Lorraine L’Estrange.
Lorraine’s car was vandalised multiple times, leaving deep scratches across the rear of the vehicle.
“The perpetrator has entered private property to wantonly damage the car,” Lorraine said.
“It was clearly someone who was very angry.”
Loraine has offered a reward of $500 for anyone who can provide information leading to the conviction of the person responsible for the damage.
Lachlan Shire Council announced earlier this year that funding had been allocated to install three surveillance cameras in the main street of Condobolin.
General Manager of Lachlan Shire Council, George Cowan, said at this stage it was likely the cameras would be installed by the end of the year.
“We still need to meet with shopkeepers and police to discuss actual sightings for the cameras,” he said.
“We will be calling for tenders for the cameras in the coming weeks.”
George said a cubicle door in the public toilets on Bathurst Street had also been ripped off its hinges over the weekend.
“There are elements in our community that are destructive,” he said.
“We have a certain amount of money available to install surveillance cameras and we encourage shopkeepers to take advantage of this and to possibly make contributions [for the project].”

The Condobolin Argus – 10 years old

With The Condobolin Argus’ 10th birthday nearly upon us, first week of May, it seemed appropriate for a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the issues and events that have been critical in making The Argus the influential and relevant community newspaper it is today.
With so many editions archived in the depths of the Argus library, the task of revisiting important stories and campaigns seemed daunting at first, though with much perseverance, the team at The Argus has managed to compile a fairly concise list of ten achievements it feels have been most relevant to the Lachlan Shire community.
They are (in no particular order):
Joining the battle to keep the Condobolin Agricultural Research Station up and running.
In March 2009, The Argus reported on the NSW Labor Government’s decision to close the Condobolin Agricultural Research Station (CARAS). A surge of public protest culminating in a rally in Condobolin’s main street reversed that decision.
Helping prevent the closure of Target Country in Condobolin.
In January 2003, The Argus confirmed Condobolin Target Country would remain open despite pressure to close the store. The Argus supported the store during the resulting six month trial period through a ‘shop local’ campaign.
Helping to promote the Condobolin skate park project.
The Argus has been supporting the Condobolin skate park project for a number of years. The project is finally becoming a reality with the final draft becoming available for public comment following Lachlan Shire Council Meeting on 20th April.
Supporting the RTA’s ‘Three Shires’ initiative to help reduce the region’s road toll.
This project aims to increase road safety throughout the Lachlan, Forbes and Parkes shires. Part of this project has been the wheelie bin initiative, encouraging children to decorate wheelie bins in an effort to highlight road safety. The Argus played a large role in encouraging people to take part in this project, and now also has a very happy looking bin.
Providing full yet sensitive coverage of breaking news including human tragedies.
For example on the 2nd of December 2005, a ten-seater Piper Chieftain light plane crashed on Neil Baxter’s property ‘Craig End’. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the loss of several lives and resulted in an Australian Transport Safety Bureau inquiry. The Argus printed continuous coverage of the incident from the crash to release of the inquiry.
Coverage of natural disasters.
The Argus has been instrumental in keeping the community aware of various fires and floods which have affected the region over the past ten years. With the real time news delivery available with the internet, The Argus can now deliver information to readers as soon as natural disasters unfold. This was most recently demonstrated during the floods in Ungarie last month.
Promotion of local tourism initiatives, particularly ‘Utes in the Paddock’.
Owing to the Argus’ commitment to improving tourism in the Lachlan Shire (and perhaps due to the fact our editor is one of the artists) Utes in the Paddock has become a ‘must see’ on any visitor’s to do list. Beginning in 2007, The Utes in the Paddock Project now includes 15 ute artworks and has been nominated for a NSW Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award and People’s Choice Tourist Experience Award.
Coverage of Aboriginal issues and events in the Lachlan Shire.
The Argus has strived to help ‘close the gap’ on Indigenous inequality though a focus on providing fair and unbiased reporting on events and issues important to the Wiradjuri community. The Argus has frequently reported positively on Aboriginal tourism, educational and employment initiatives.
Promotion of major events such as the Condo 750, Tattoo,  Condo B & S and our Australian Idol Shannon Noll.
The Argus has thrown its support behind various community oriented events over its ten year history. This promotion has been in the form of editorials, advertorials and extensive advertising features before, during and after events.
Support of local Charity Organisations
When major charity events and fundraisers happen in the Lachlan Shire, The Argus is always in the thick of the action, lending its promotional power to the event. Various charities and charitable organisations.

Support for Community much more than just words in a newspaper.
Born out of a large gathering of members from right across the community forming the view more could be done to promote our region, The Condobolin Argus actively pursues promotional opportunities in may different ways.
The paper looks to attract staff with high level skills and talents that offer its community additional benefits. One staff member worked tirelessly on submissions and promotion for the Professional Bull Riders event. That event attracting large crowds enhancing business for the local community. Yet another staff member successfully competed the local Show Girl promotion being awarded State Runner Up at the Royal Easter Show, thereby doing a magnificent job of promoting our region.
Focus for The Condobolin Argus is very firmly on assisting local community to promote itself, diligently managing advertisers funds to employ high level skills providing a holistic service. One portfolio sponsored by The Condobolin Argus in this way is that of ‘Community Promotions Officer’.
All of this has only been made possible by your strong support over the past ten years. Thank you for helping us to provide this service to our community.
To help your local community newspaper celebrate its 10th birthday and plan for many more, please drop on by the office at 93 Bathurst Street Condobolin during the first week of May -We’ll have some birthday cake.

Top tips to secure your home when going away this Easter

Whether you’re going out for the day, away for the weekend or a big overseas trip, is your home secure from unwanted intruders?
Insurance:
Make sure your home contents insurance is up to date and that you are adequately insured for all items. Keep a record of the serial and model number of major household items and a list of all jewellery and valuable possessions.
Lighting:
It might sound simple but something as easy as installing movement-activated sensor lights can make a big difference to the security of your home. Install lights at the front and back of your property and the garage area.
While away, consider using timer lights to give your property a lived-in look or alternatively, leave lights on in a few areas of the house.
Alarms and locks:
An alarm is one of the best deterrents to burglars, but be sure to have it installed correctly and always turn it on when leaving the house.
Alarm must-haves include: intruder detection devices on or near the main entry points, at least one internal siren, a strobe light and external siren, and a minimum of three intruder detection devices, including at least two motion detectors.
Locks should be installed on all gates, sheds and garage doors and windows throughout the house. Entry doors should be fitted with deadlocks.
Lock up:
You’d think this advice might go without saying, but according to insurance company statistics more than 35 percent of us still leave doors and windows unlocked when we aren’t home. So make sure you lock up before heading out.
Remember to lock up any items, such as ladders, that can be used by would-be intruders to gain access to your property.
Other tips: Try to make the house look as lived-in as possible. Have someone collect the mail (or ask the post office to hold it for the period you are away) and take the bins in and out.
Stop delivery of newspapers and other items.
If you’ve recently moved into the property, consider installing new locks on entry doors.
Never leave spare keys outside the property: even if you think you have an ingenious hiding place.
Trim all trees and shrubs that provide cover (or easy access to windows) for a would-be burglar.
Have a neighbour, friend or family member keep a regular eye on your property.
Don’t leave a message on your answering machine to say you’re away, and turn down the volume on your home phone.
Leave a car parked in the driveway if you can.
Don’t advertise your latest purchases. For example, don’t leave the box of your new TV or computer outside the house.

One third of over 50s have experienced a home invasion

Alarming new figures show almost one in three Australians over 50 (31%) have been the victim of a break-in while at home, according to research from leading national over 50s insurance provider Apia.
Even more disturbingly, almost two-thirds (63%) of those who have had their home broken into while they were there, were not even aware the intruder was in the house.
Apia Executive Manager Craig Dingle said the research highlighted the importance of older residents remaining security conscious, even when at home.
“Apia’s research found that a third of Australians over 50 (33%) admit they are apprehensive or uneasy about leaving their home empty when they go on holidays in case it is broken into while they are away, but the data shows that many thefts can occur even when the home is occupied,” Mr Dingle said.
“Coming face to face with an intruder during a home invasion can be a frightening and dangerous experience, so it makes sense to reduce the risk of a break-in by following some basic security precautions while at home.
“Consider taking some simple steps like locking external doors and windows if you’re going to be out in the garden or in another area of the house, and not leaving handbags or keys within easy reach of open windows.
“On a more positive note, our research actually found that people over 50 were the most likely of all age groups to warn others in the neighbourhood if they were the victim of a break-in, with 87% saying that they would alert their neighbours to the risk,” Mr Dingle said.
Apia’s research, released to coincide with the start of New South Wales Seniors Week, also found that many people aged over 50 failed to take basic security measures to protect their home when they went out.
17% of over 50s nationally said they sometimes left a spare house key under a door mat or pot plant.
34% said they sometimes left their front or back door unlocked when they probably shouldn’t.
28% said they sometimes left window locks unlocked.
39% of people aged over 50 with home security systems admit they sometimes go out without switching the alarm on.
“Opportunistic thieves will take advantage of an unlocked door or unlatched window to break into a home, so taking some simple home security precautions can make a big difference,” Mr Dingle said.
“Apia encourages all Australians, regardless of age, to remain security conscious and stay safe both at home and when out and about.”

Is your place safe and secure?

With a recent spate of vandalism in Condobolin, you might be wondering about the best way to keep your home (or your windows) safe from crime.
As a result, The Condobolin Argus caught up with a number of security business owners to find out what the trends and latest developments are when it comes to keeping homes secure.
Ken Mitchell, owner of Mitchell’s Security Services, said home invasions were becoming increasingly common during working hours.
“In Bathurst, 72% of break-ins in private residences happen during daylight hours,” he said.
“Home invasions are also significantly more common than business break and enters.”
Ken said the growing trend was for people to install surveillance cameras on their properties.
“CCTV networks are no longer terribly expensive,” he said.
“With all the new mobile phone technology, you can even get the stream of pictures from the cameras straight to your phone.
“In addition to that, alarm systems are as popular as ever, as are security screens.”
Ken said despite these security systems, the easiest way to deter home invasions was to use common sense.
“If people go away, it’s important not to leave their bins outside for collection and to get someone else to collect their mail; they’re both dead giveaways that there’s no one home,” he said.
“It’s also important for people to not leave their spare keys in obvious places like in pot plants or under a doormat.”
Col Lamrock, owner of Glassplace, said there was a real need for people to use security screens and doors to protect homes and businesses from unnecessary damage.
“Damage to property can be from burglaries and direct criminal activity, though is more likely through senseless vandalism,” he said.
“Fitting high quality security doors such as woven steel products can deter most attacks of this nature.”
For a do it yourself installation security system for your home or business, drop into Condobolin Retravision.
Or if you would prefer to have one installed for you, give Paul Riley Electrics a call.

Condobolin main street vandalised

Laura Kunkel and Kim Noll outside the boarded up windows of KMWL in Bathurst Street, Condobolin. OMBy Dominic Geiger

A 17 year old Condobolin male has been charged with eight accounts of malicious damage following the discovery of 29 smashed storefront windows on Bathurst Street last week.
It is alleged the teenager used a golf club to shatter the windows as he travelled from the Target building along the northern side of Bathurst Street to KMWL Ray White Condobolin.
The incident occurred at approximately 12:40am on Thursday morning.
The teenager has been granted strict bail and is to appear in Condobolin Children’s Court on May 3.
A police spokesperson said estimates suggested over $20,000 worth of damage had been caused and alcohol was considered a factor.
Smashed windows prompt calls for surveillance cameras to be installed.
Kim Noll, Residential Sales Specialist at KMWL Ray White Condobolin, said the damage would impact severely on businesses in the area and was completely unnecessary.
“I think it’s disgusting,” she said.
“The actions of just one person have cost businesses in Bathurst Street so much.
“I think this sort of thing would stop if there were CCTV cameras installed in the main street; people wouldn’t be smashing stuff in front of cameras.”
Ironically, Lachlan Shire Councillors were attempting to confirm a Federal Government grant had been allocated for CCTV cameras to be installed in Bathurst Street just days before the vandalism occurred.
General Manager for the Lachlan Shire Council George Cowen said the council had been advised in a media release that they had been approved for the grant.
“We’ve been lodging grant applications for these cameras for the last eighteen months,” he said.
“Now we’re just seeking confirmation our application has been successful.
“As soon as we can confirm that, we will contact business owners for agreement on where the cameras can be installed.”

Local Authority warms to new fire strategy

Examining the potential of new controlled burning practices: Dr Milton Lewis, Wiradjuri Elder and project partner Aunty Evelyn Coe and Russell Hill. DGBy Dominic Geiger

The Lachlan  Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has announced it will be trialling a revolutionary long-term approach to controlled burning in the Condobolin region.
Speaking at an information evening on the 15th of this month, Dr Milton Lewis outlined how new controlled burning methods being used in northern Australia would be coupled with traditional local Aboriginal knowledge to create more sustainable burning practices in the Lachlan Shire.
Dr Lewis said he hoped the change in burning practises would lead to an increase in native flora and fauna in the Lachlan Valley, as it had done in the Northern Territory.
“In my work with the Gouldian Finch, we discovered fire played a major role in what food was available for the bird to eat,” he said.
“The bird’s numbers were decreasing dramatically and no one knew why; no one thought that it might simply have no food available.”
Dr Lewis said a change in the way fire had been managed in the Northern Territory since European settlement had led to many native species becoming threatened.
“When I came back from the Northern Territory I felt the southern states were facing the same problem,” he said.
“People were burning but they didn’t know how to burn.”
Dr Lewis also said the change in fire use in the Northern Territory had led to better results for cattle graziers.
“People in the N.T were able to increase beef production by not burning a certain type of grass,” he said.
The CMA will be looking for ten local land owners to allow long-term controlled burning experiments on their properties.
Catchment Officer Russell Hill, who also spoke at the information evening, said the project would work with the local Aboriginal community to offer employment opportunities.
“We’re trying to engage Aboriginal people with the land owners and land managers and increase their understanding of fire,” he said.
Russell also said the CMA would be working closely with all interested parties in the community on this project.

Five unrestrained children in car after crash

The discovery of five children not wearing seatbelts in a car crash in Condobolin on Thursday night has shocked police.
Police were called to the scene of a crash at Condobolin last Thursday night and found five unrestrained children in one of the vehicles.
About 5pm, a Toyota Lexcen was travelling west on Mahonga Street when the driver lost control and crashed through a steel fence on Condon Street.
The Lexcen then crashed into a Toyota Hilux utility occupied by a 70-year-old woman and her 46-year-old female passenger. The two women were not injured during the crash.
Police and Paramedics attended the scene where they found seven people in the Toyota Lexcen with five of those being unrestrained children.
It will be alleged an 18-month-old boy was on the lap of a 26-year-old woman, who was sitting in the front passenger seat.
Four other children including; a two-year-old girl, four-year-old girl, four-year-old boy and a seven-year-old boy were all allegedly in the rear passenger seats and not wearing seatbelts.
A check of the vehicle revealed it was not fitted with any child or booster seats.
The driver, a 25-year-old woman, was treated at the scene for shock and taken to Condobolin Hospital where she underwent blood and urine tests.
The five children were also taken to Condobolin Hospital as a precaution.
Superintendent Robert Ryan, Lachlan Local Area Commander, said he was shocked to learn there were seven people travelling in one of the vehicles.
“Seven people crammed into one car is down right dangerous and I shudder to think that five of those were children who were not restrained.
“It’s a miracle no one was seriously injured or killed in this crash and the reality is we could have seen nine lives lost in a split second.
“Just this week, NSW Police conducted a state-wide operation targeting people not wearing seatbelts and within days police have again witnessed an irresponsible driver putting the lives of children at risk.
“I urge every driver and their passengers to wear their seatbelts and make sure children are correctly restrained.
“Our investigations are continuing, however, it will be alleged the 25-year-old woman was unlicensed and has never held a licence,” said Superintendent Ryan.
Media release Police Media Unit.

Break and Enters rife in Condobolin

By Dominic Geiger

A series of break and enters have plagued Condobolin over the past two weekends, with at least three businesses, the Aboriginal Health Services Centre and the high school falling victim to the attacks.
Sue Healey, owner of the Condobolin Shell Service Station, which was broken into on the second of this month, said the attack had prompted her to upgrade the store’s security system.
“I’ve only been here four months, and nothing like this has happened before,” she said.
“But now it’s in the back of your mind; you can’t really forget about it.”
Sue said she arrived at work on the morning following the burglary  to discover around $4000 worth of cigarettes missing and a broken window on the side of the store.
“They certainly knew what they were after,” she said.
“They only took the brands they knew would sell.”
Kathy Parnaby, co-owner of the Gum Bend Lake Kiosk which also suffered a break in, said she was disappointed such a thing had happened.
“You try and you have a go at something and people just take it from you,” she said.
Sergeant Peter Gibson at the Condobolin Police Station said police had attended all the crime scenes and had taken finger prints and DNA where possible.
He also said at this stage police were unsure if the various break and enters were related.
“We believe there are probably a few people who are common denominators in all these recent break ins, though there are probably a few others who were only there for one,” he said.
“We encourage anyone in the community who has information about these incidents to come forth and make a statement which will be held in strict confidence.”

Safe pedestrian education

The Ambulance Service of NSW encourages parents to educate their children about how to be a safe pedestrian.
Sixteen child pedestrians were killed on Australian roads last year and many more were seriously injured. As thousands of schoolchildren return back to school, parents are being urged to teach their children good pedestrian habits.
1. Set a good example. Parents/care givers are the best road safety teachers.
2. Never assume that an approaching vehicle can see you, or will stop for you. Wait until all
vehicles have stopped before you cross.
3. Always use pedestrian crossings
4. At traffic lights, make sure that vehicles stop before you start to cross, and don’t enter the road
if vehicles are moving through the crossing.
5. Avoid crossing between parked cars or at the front or back of buses.
6. Children up to eight years old should hold an adult’s hand on the footpath, in the car park or
when crossing the road.
7. Take the time to make sure your children are aware of, understand and follow traffic safety
regulations when they are walking.
8. Teach your children to be aware of their environment: for example, wearing headphones or
getting distracted by playing with friends on the way to or from school can make them more
vulnerable to accidents.
9. Make sure your own driving and parking are not endangering your own or others’ children.
Obey all parking signs and speed limits, and always be on the lookout for the unexpected.
Many traffic safety issues around schools arise from the driving and parking behaviour of
parents.
10. Never call your child across the road.

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