Pettitt: City’s on the up

FREMANTLE mayor Brad Pettitt says the city’s crime rate is down and it’s not faring too badly economically—if you look in the right place.

“I think there is more of a perception of crime than what is actually happening out there—the reality is that it’s getting better,” Dr Pettitt told the Herald.

“I think Fremantle tends to be too hard on itself.

“We forget the progress that’s been made. Take Kings Square for instance—that’s a really pleasant place to be now.”

He acknowledges there’s still a long way to go, but says the council’s policies of increasing the inner-city population and providing incentives for people to linger productively—such as wifi—will make a difference.

Dr Pettitt says in his regular discussions with police, they’ve hinted that the latest statistics will show a further decrease in crime levels, but he’s concerned he’s not seeing the same numbers on the beat as last year and has urged them to increase foot patrols again.

“You can’t have a major mental health facility, major court and social service facilities and not have police on the beat,” he said.

“And not just police on the beat, but the same police.”

Dr Pettitt says economically the city’s got some bright spots as well, although he describes the High Street mall as an “absolute disaster”.

“In the West End, the rent in that area has enabled an innovative retail to flourish,” he says, with a sideways dig at the mall’s landlords.

He says the West End traders were savvy in realising they had a brand and marketing themselves.

“It’s funky, and it’s all very Freo and that’s when I feel encouraged about the city’s future.

“Take out the mall and the development zone, and Fremantle’s actually doing pretty well.”

Dr Pettitt said Coles had indicated to him they were desperate to stay in the city even if the current site was redeveloped without a supermarket.

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