`Look poor` remark taken out of context: Victorian police

Last Updated: Monday, February 8, 2010 - 10:48

Melbourne: Under attack for the "try to
dress poor" advice for Indian students, Victorian police has
said the remarks were a "light hearted summation" of the
safety advice which was drawn "absolutely out of context".

Both the Victorian government and the police have said
the remarks, especially "try to look as poor as you can", were
a "light-hearted summation of the advice" he (police chief)
would give to any member of the community to be aware of their
valuables, The Australian newspaper reported today.

Victorian police chief Simon Overland on Saturday told
Indian students at a safety forum that they could make
themselves less of a target if they do not display their
expensive gadgets.

"Don`t display your iPods, don`t display your valuable
watch, don`t display your valuable jewellery. Try to look as
poor as you can," Overland was quoted as saying by `The Age`.

"It (the remark) was absolutely taken out of context,"
a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

Echoing similar views, the forum`s organiser Victorian
Immigrant and Refugee Women`s Coalition executive Director
Melba Marginson said, "he has been taken out of context. His
statement to look poor has been twisted. It was a mere
summation of few strategies of to not display your valuables
like you would do anywhere to avoid attention of criminals."

However, the advice has apparently miffed business and
community groups who dubbed it as "wrong and unhelpful".

The report quoted City of Brimbank Mayor Sam David,
whose council lies in west Melbourne, as saying that
Overland`s advice to Indians not to live in areas with higher
crime rates was not helpful.

"It`s wrong because the Indian community have to live
somewhere and we are very proud to have them in our city," he

David said the western suburbs needed more police at
railway stations and shopping centres.

Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry
spokesman Chris James said he was concerned Melbourne was
being painted as an "epicentre of violence", and about the
consequent economic impacts it would have on the city.

"In some respects it is sensible advice," he said,
adding "however, the key function of a state government is law
and order which needs a massive overhaul in this state. This
includes a greater police and security presence on the streets
and on our public transport system."


First Published: Monday, February 8, 2010 - 10:48

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