[singlepic id=491 w=320 h=240 float=left] Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt has called on residents to do their bit by keeping an eye on schools during the coming school holidays.

Mr Pitt said that during the last school holiday period five schools in the Cairns area were vandalised.

“Machans Beach State School was the worst hit with a timber two-storey timber and administration block gutted by fire,” Mr Pitt said.

Other schools to sustain extensive damage were Yorkeys Knob State School, Woree State High School, Trinity Bay State High School and Bentley Park College.”

Mr Pitt said that community vigilance remained one of the most effective tools to protect school property from vandalism and burglary.

“Right across the State, community members have been crucial in reducing the cost of insurance claims for break and enters and vandalism at state schools.

“The School Watch Hotline operates 24 hours a day and receives, on average, 70 calls a month from community members reporting suspicious activities in school grounds.”

Mr Pitt said it is everyone’s responsibility to do our very best to protect the state school facilities which are often targeted by would-be thieves, vandals and arsonists during the holidays.

“State schools will be closed for two weeks from the end of the school day on Friday 21 June to the commencement of term three on Monday 8 July,” Mr Pitt said.

“I urge community-minded people to contacting the hotline on 13 17 88 if they notice anything suspicious as these reports often lead to damage to school property being minimised.”

Mr Pitt said other school security measures included intruder detection devices and alarms, and surveillance by police, State Government and private security officers.

“School security patrols will be a regular sight throughout the region during the coming school holidays,” Mr Pitt said.

“Juvenile crime is a real community issue in the southern suburbs and there is always more to be done to increase the range of diversionary activities in the area.

“I welcome the opportunity to work closely with the new PCYC which will commence operations from July 1 – the second week of the school holidays – at the Edmonton Leisure Centre.

“I lobbied hard to get state government funding for the Edmonton Leisure Centre and have long advocated for a PCYC to operate from the facility to provide diversionary activities.

“Initial activities include futsal, netball, zumba, tai chi, indoor bowls and boxing. At a later date crime prevention programs will commence.”

Mr Pitt said the issue of truancy continues to be raised with him during meetings with community members and retailers in the area and he is continuing to work with schools and community members to address the issue.

For more information on programs offered by Edmonton PCYC or to sign up for activities, phone 0438 987 946