Fed up residents are ‘arming’ themselves with ear-blasting airhorns in an effort to scare off home invaders and other crooks.
The Narre Warren North dad who started the quirky initiative, Steven Archibald, has already distributed dozens of airhorns and bright torches to his neighbours.
The former army reservist — who negotiated a discount deal with the online horn supplier — has the backing of the City of Casey and has already presented to the council’s community safety committee.
One councillor praised the initiative as a “non-vigilante approach”, saying it could be rolled out throughout the region.
Mr Archibald, who specialised in heavy weapons and reconissance work in the army, said the $19 airhorns were a good option for people who froze and were unable to scream when confronted by an offender.
He said some residents had been talking about arming themselves with weapons but said there was a risk an attacker could grab a weapon or used it against the victim.
“It has been hectic over the last 12 months with the levels of crime,” Mr Archibald said.
“Some homes have panic alarms but they are not always in the ideal spot.
“I have ordered about 50 of these airhorns and I am about to do another order.”
Over the past few months Mr Archibald has doorknocked, organised community meetings — attended by almost 60 people — with the aim of helping neighbours develop a management plan in case they are threatened at home or see a crime.
Mr Archibald, who works from home managing superannuation funds, said the neighbourhood was very supportive of police but realised they couldn’t be everywhere, especially in a big municipality like Casey.
“If you do not know your neighbour that well you might say ‘oh it’s too late to call them (if there was a break in)’,” he said.
“Out the front of my house there were people affected by drugs at 5am screaming and yelling and I responded with the horn and a neighbour backed that up.
“I am trying to create something that anyone can pick up and run with.”
Neighbour Clive Ellis, who has lived in the area for more than 60 years, said he felt safer since getting an airhorn.
He said many people did not respond when they heard a car or home alarm because they often activated for no reason.
“If there was a lightning strike or the power was out you could grope around in the cupboard and find it (an airhorn) quick-smart,” Mr Ellis said.
Mr Archiband presented to the council’s Community Safety Advisory group last month, along with Narre Warren police.
Four Oaks ward councillor Rosalie Crestani said there had been 10 home invasions in one street in Narre Warren that she knew about and the airhorns were a good non-vigilante approach.
“Perhaps we can roll this out Casey-wide,” she said.
An airhorn produces a sound that can be as loud as 129 decibels, louder than a siren and almost as loud as a jackhammer.
Long or repeated exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can cause hearing damage and sounds above 120 decibel are enough to cause pain.
Airhorns are often used in marine safety to alert rescuers when a boat is in trouble.