City crime a web of worry

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

Police are adamant crime is not on the rise de­spite grow­ing angst on so­cial me­dia.

A re­ported out­break of sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity in­clud­ing thefts and youths on the streets at night have be­come com­mon­place on so­cial me­dia pages fre­quented by Kar­ratha lo­cals.

But Kar­ratha police act­ing of­fi­cer-in-charge Se­nior Sergeant Si­mon Har­ri­son said rates of vol­ume crime such as bur­glary, steal­ing and prop­erty dam­age had re­mained steady.

“There’s no crime spike, it’s stayed the same, and if any­thing, it’s re­duced in the past cou­ple of years, be­cause of FIFO (leav­ing) the town’s not as pop­u­lated,” he said. “I think I’ve seen a marked re­duc­tion in vol­ume crime in the last few years I’ve been here.

“I think it’s just peo­ple’s per­ceived idea that it’s gone up.

“We’ve got to ed­u­cate the com­mu­nity, get on so­cial me­dia and show our achieve­ments.”

The Kar­ratha Safer Com­mu­ni­ties Partnership con­sid­ers in­tro­duc­ing se­cu­rity pa­trols in the City in re­sponse to com­mu­nity per­cep- tion of ris­ing crime. The op­tion of se­cu­rity pa­trols was dis­cussed at last week’s closed meet­ing of the lo­cal crime preven­tion task­force, which in­cludes the City, lo­cal police, Rio Tinto, Wood­side-op­er­ated North West Shelf Project and the Depart­ment of Hous­ing.

Pa­trols would in­volve teams of sev­eral police of­fi­cers cir­cu­lat­ing each night around Kar­ratha, Dampier, Roe­bourne, Wick­ham and Point Sam­son.

Sen. Sgt Har­ri­son said police al­ready reg­u­larly pa­trolled crime hot spots based on in­tel­li­gence and were run­ning a four-month oper- ation tar­get­ing vol­ume crime. There are ques­tions over how much power pa­trols would have, with of­fi­cers likely only able to ob­serve and re­port in­ci­dents.

City Mayor Peter Long said they were im­ple­ment­ing an ar­ray of crime-preven­tion mea­sures.

“The City is al­ready do­ing many things to com­bat crime in­clud­ing in­stalling CCTV through­out the dis­trict, ex­tend­ing street and foot­path light­ing, im­ple­ment­ing its free bike and mo­tor­cy­cle lock pro­gram and lob­by­ing for ad­di­tional police re­sources,” he said.

Mr Long said fu­ture mea­sures could in­clude prop­erty crime safety au­dits, ex­tended ranger ser­vices and se­cu­rity pa­trols.

The Kar­ratha City Ratepay­ers and Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion re­cently con­ducted a week-long on­line sur­vey into com­mu­nity per­cep­tions of crime that showed around 60 per cent to 70 per cent sup­port for in­tro­duc­ing pa­trols.

Trea­surer Marc Fog­a­rty said prop­erty and drug crimes and the in­creas­ing “brazen­ness” of of­fend­ers were their main con­cerns.

The City of Kar­ratha will con­sider a re­port into crime preven­tion op­tions at its April meet­ing.

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