Crime and safety has emerged as a major concern for Tuggeranong residents but the results of the latest Community Survey have only posed more questions for the local community council.
The results surprised the council, considering that monthly police reports do not reflect any increase in crime in Canberra’s southern suburbs.
But young people also raised concerns about crime and safety in the council’s Youth Survey, such as when walking at night and poor lighting on some streets and at bus stops. Other sites mentioned were the skatepark near MacDonalds, and the bus interchange at night.
The council will now launch a mini-survey that it hopes will unpack residents’ concerns and provide more specific information.
President Jeffery Bollard said that apart from the well-publicised violence associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs, crime in Tuggeranong was not disproportionately high compared with other parts of Canberra.
He said it may come down to how safe people feel just moving around and going to certain areas such as the less formal recreation areas, pathways, areas around the fast-food outlets and the skatepark, particularly with more outside activity during the COVID-19 shutdown.
”In the past, that perception of safety has been improved by the provision of things like good street lighting,” he said.
So the survey will focus on infrastructure in the safety section of the survey, from footpaths through to lighting maintenance, and then look at what will fall into the crime category.
”What we’re trying to do is get an understanding of what people’s areas of concern are, and we’re actually adopting the AFP’s reporting framework so we can do some direct comparisons later on,” Mr Bollard said.
”Hopefully, when we get some stats back from this follow-up survey we’ll be in a better position to really understand what the results of the Community Survey and the youth survey were.”
The next biggest concern revealed in the Community Survey was public transport, followed by park and garden maintenance, community and support for residents, rates and water quality in Lake Tuggeranong.
Asked what they wanted improved over the next two to five years, they said better bus services, revamped local shops, improvements to recreation/parkland areas and healthier waterways.
They wanted better maintenance of green spaces, more trees and shrubs and organic waste collection.
Most people said Tuggeranong would benefit from more outdoor markets and many said the area’s sporting facilities needed upgrading while some wanted more indoor stadiums and even an ice skating rink.
The council says it will follow up on these issues, but specifically investigate the need for a new bus interchange, look at supporting and promoting more local markets, and continue to put pressure on the ACT Government to improve water quality in Lake Tuggeranong.
The survey attracted comments from all Tuggeranong suburbs and people from all ages, with the biggest group to respond aged from 35 to 44.
Almost half the responders had lived in Tuggeranong for more than 20 years, and women were the largest cohort to respond.