Po­lice eye prob­lem prop­er­ties

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Pe­ter de Krui­jff

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.

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