Police to step up patrols in Carlton
Victoria Police will ramp up its presence in the Carlton area following a string of incidents that have left the community gravely concerned.
Traders and residents have expressed alarm over the level of crime gripping the area following the incident involving a 17-year-old victim who was allegedly stabbed outside a gelato store in Lygon St on May 23.
Melbourne West local area commander Acting Inspector Graham Caldwell said police had engaged with local traders and would step up their patrols with an operation also to be launched in the coming weeks focusing on anti-social behaviour around the Lygon St area following community feedback.
“We’re certainly aware and certainly focussing some attention in the area,” he told Inner City News.
A police spokesperson said plain-clothes police from the Melbourne Divisional Response Unit would run targeted enforcement operations in the area to catch offenders.
“Local police run regular operations and highly visible patrols of the Carlton area to not only detect offences but deter them before they occur,” the spokesperson said.
The increased police presence comes after Inner City News published a front-page story in June about the community pleading for immediate action on crime, saying “hope isn’t a strategy for us”.
Carlton Inc. Traders’ Association executive officer Phillip Mansour, who also voiced his frustration in the article, put several questions to the City of Melbourne which were read out during a council meeting on June 7.
“What short-term and long-term plan of action is in place to ensure people feel safe in the streets of Carlton?” he asked.
“When are the safety cameras in Carlton being installed? I’d hate to see another incident occur in Carlton.”
In response, the council read a statement saying, the City of Melbourne was aware of the incident that took place in Lygon St, and that Victoria Police have an active investigation underway.
“We are also aware Victoria Police will shortly be implementing a number of reassurance and targeted operations in the Lygon St area, which means there will be a broader police presence,” Cr Dr Olivia Ball read out.
The statement indicated that the expansion of safety cameras into Lygon St and Argyle Square had not been included in the proposed 2022-23 budget process, however as consultation remained open, “we will include your feedback in the consultation on the 22-23 budget process.”
The City of Melbourne also participated in the Local Safety Committee on June 24 for the Melbourne West police area, including Carlton.
However, Mr Mansour said he was disappointed by the council’s response which he believed was “not precise and non-committal”.
“I spoke with Paul from University Cafe last week and he was shocked to see that nobody from the council has reached out to him or any of the traders on Lygon St to speak with them,” he said.
“Considering the article was featured on the front page [of Inner City News], there has been no response or action from the City of Melbourne.”
Mr Mansour said “every effort” must be made to ensure business owners, residents, and visitors felt safe in Carlton.
“The City of Melbourne is simply not listening and is only worried about its own agenda, the scattered bike lanes are a great example of them not listening to businesses throughout the CBD.”
“Prompt safety and security actions are needed to protect the community now – not in one or two years’ time, emergency measures are needed here.”
Paul Ferraro, who runs the University Café on Lygon St, said the Carlton area was in desperate need of a stronger police presence.
“We need something, we need police presence and CCTV. If they’re too busy, what’s got to happen for police to come? A shooting? A stabbing? Really, it’s too late,” he said.
“They’ve got to ramp it up, do it hard for three months. We need to make it safer for the community.” •