- $1.2 million in funding for Crime Stoppers Victoria’s bushfire arson prevention initiatives
- People encouraged to report any suspicious activity
- Napthine Government is building a safer Victoria
Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Kim Wells today announced $1.2 million in funding for Crime Stoppers Victoria to continue its arson prevention initiatives and encourage Victorians to help stop arsonists.
Mr Wells said the new funding would be provided to Crime Stoppers Victoria over four years to continue important bushfire arson community education and awareness initiatives.
“Arson is a despicable and horrific crime that can cause serious injury or loss of life, and devastate our environment and destroy properties,” Mr Wells said.
“More than half of bush and grassfires in Victoria are deliberately lit or caused by reckless behaviour such as burning off or using tools such as welders and angle grinders on a day of total fire ban.
“This funding will assist in encouraging Victorians to report any suspicious activity – with a simple message; if you have seen something, say something.”
The funding is part of the Napthine Coalition Government’s four-year bushfire arson commitment, which helps promote community safety and prevent arson in communities across Victoria.
Launching the 2014-15 Crime Stoppers Bushfire Arson campaign in Melton today, Mr Wells said it would encourage people to call Crime Stoppers or report online via its website if they witness any suspicious behaviour.
“Forecasts indicate Victoria will face another significant fire season with an earlier start due to dry conditions, so it is absolutely crucial that local communities are well prepared,” Mr Wells said.
“Deliberately or recklessly lighting bushfires and grass fires will not be tolerated.”
Crime Stoppers Victoria CEO Sam Hunter welcomed the continuation of funding which provides the public a range of ways to report arson.
“We’re looking forward to continuing the bushfire arson initiatives to encourage people to say something, wherever they are and whenever they see something,” Ms Hunter said.
“It can be the careless actions of a driver flicking a lit cigarette out of a car window into a dry bushy area, or equipment causing sparks to ignite dry grass which can be just as devastating.
“Regardless, each of these types of events involve criminal offences and can place lives and property at severe risk.”
During the Crime Stoppers Bushfire Arson announcement, Victoria Police’s bushfire arson prevention and detection operation was also launched.
“Operation Firesetter is a high visibility bushfire arson prevention and detection operation focused on high-risk bushfire arson locations, crime prevention activities and the monitoring of persons of interest,” Mr Wells said.
If you have information about someone in your community who is deliberately lighting fires call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or report online via their website: www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
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