An 18-month-old collaborative community project aimed at curbing antisocial behaviour and reducing youth crime in Lake Macquarie has begun seeing the fruits of its labours.
The Cardiff Collaborative Community Project, which is funded by the NSW Department of Justice and managed by local not-for-profit agency Community Activities Lake Macquarie (CALM), ran 23 separate programs and two community events in the past 18 months, which has coincided with a significant drop in youth crime.
According to crime data, in the past 18 months stealing offences across Lake Macquarie has dropped 63 per cent and street offences by 81 per cent. Police involvement in youth incidents across the North Lake Macquarie region is also down from 503 to 368.
"It's not just the statistics that we are looking at, but the stories of success and change from young people who have participated in the program," Bradley Dunn from CALM said. "One young participant described this change by saying 'I was a really bad kid at the start of the year and I just improved. I enjoyed the company of the policemen. They always spoke to me and I could talk to them'."
Mr Dunn said the program has been "heavily backed and celebrated" by Superintendent Danny Sullivan, the Lake Macquarie Police District commander.
The project connects with young people and delivers a range of programs that support their needs and interests.