City crime a web of worry
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.