Police eye problem properties
Pilbara police have been targeting the rowdiest addresses in the region’s four biggest towns in an effort to reduce call-outs — and it is working, according to senior officers.
Pilbara Superintendent Jo McCabe said in March police decided to pilot a patrol program first adopted in the UK.
The idea was to proactively visit the five locations from which the police received the most call-outs for antisocial behaviour in Karratha, Newman, Roebourne and South Hedland.
These locations varied from unit complexes to houses and shopping centres.
In the six months leading up to March, police were called out to two addresses in Newman a total of 128 times, in most instances for antisocial behaviour.
In the six months after the visits, police have gone to these locations a total of seven times.
Supt McCabe said for a long time the attitude was that officers would go on patrol and the station would just say “see you later”.
She said the pilot program was in full swing in April and the first three months were the busiest as officers did the hard yards to visit the addresses regularly before any incidents happened.
Each town has had more successes than failures.
In Karratha, the statistics have fallen from 144 call-outs across five properties to 54.
Karratha officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Geoff Cramp said the drop at known hotspots meant they were proactively preventing crimes, which freed their time to serve other areas of the community.
“It has been a matter of being visible,” he said.
“A regular police presence has had a positive effect in preventing offending.”
Call-outs to problem Roebourne properties have nearly halved, falling from 80 to 41, and in South Hedland call-outs have dropped from
343 to 119 across six target properties.
Supt McCabe, who has been a big proponent of reform and developing better community relationships, said she did not think the drop would have been so significant, but the trial was not over.
She said police now needed to maintain the low numbers.
To do this, police have brought in other Government and not-for-profit organisations to work together instead of “working in silos” to address other social issues present at the high call-out locations.
The departments of Child Protection, Education, and Housing have all become involved.
The Department of Housing’s input in a worst-case scenario could lead to the eviction of a resident if they live in social housing, but the organisations are working to prevent this action.
If the successes keep coming, police will move on to the next busiest list of call-out locations, while keeping a close eye on the first group.