Officers flocked to Geelong’s mall via horses, cars and on foot yesterday afternoon to crack down on anti-social behaviour in the city centre. Photo: HANNAH KENNY

Strength in numbers: Victoria Police target crime in Geelong’s mall

July 3, 2019 BY

LITTLE Malop Street was a sea of blue and white chequers yesterday as Victoria Police swarmed the controversial crime spot to launch Operation Safeguard Geelong.

Victoria Police’s latest safety initiative aims to target anti-social behaviour as well as drug, weapon, property and traffic offences in Geelong’s city centre.

The patrol came just days after the City of Greater Geelong announced it would continue working with key stakeholders to redevelop the uninviting area, which was recently dubbed “Australia’s worst mall” on national television.

Geelong Inspector Paul Edebone said the operation would allow police to crack down on pressing issues of concern and provide much-needed “public reassurance”.

“By bringing together a number of smaller operations, we will be able to use those resources to saturate key hotspots and target offences that are of concern in Geelong,” Inspector Edebone said.

“Not only do we want to detect and prevent crime, but we want the community to feel safe and have confidence in their local police.

“A combination of uniform and plain-clothes officers will be working so while police may not always be visible, chances are they will still be out and about patrolling the streets.”

According to a social media post published by Eyewatch – Geelong Police Service Area, on day one of Operation Safeguard Geelong, Victoria Police made two arrests, conducted 623 preliminary breath tests and issued 17 penalty notices for “various offences”.

Operation Safeguard Geelong was supported by specialist units including Mounted Branch, Highway Patrol and Transit Safety Division.

The initiative will be “ongoing” and run alongside other community engagement programs such as “Coffee with a Cop”.