'Look poor' remark taken out of context, says Victorian police

'Look poor' remark taken out of context, says Victorian police

'Look poor' remark taken out of context, says Victorian police

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 said.

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."

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