Patrol proposal rejected
Karratha authorities are calling for residents to follow stronger crime prevention strategies after a council decision against introducing security patrols in the area.
At their April council meeting, the City of Karratha turned down a proposal to introduce private security patrols or extended ranger services throughout the district, citing a lack of support from recent police statistics, the expense to ratepayers, limited staff powers, and the fact local police already conduct targeted night-time patrols.
City of Karratha Deputy Mayor John Lally said council believed the likely cost of patrols, estimated to cost ratepayers up to $190 per property, would be better spent on bolstering existing safety initiatives such as increased street lighting and CCTV surveillance.
The council decision comes at a time when recent WA Police statistics reveal the monthly crime average in most City of Karratha suburbs is at its lowest point in two years, despite much protest on social media pages.
Karratha police officer-incharge Senior Sergeant Andrew Stevens said police took resident perceptions of crime seriously, but local rates were not out of the ordinary.
“Everyone should be mindful. Be alert, but not alarmed that crime does occur in this town, although it is not out of control,” he said.
“And the best thing that people can do to make themselves feel more secure is have solid crime prevention practices... and common sense.”
Sen. Sgt Stevens said there were three main categories of crime prevention strategies that lowered chances of becoming a target of crime.
These are increasing the level of difficulty for someone wanting to commit a crime, for example by locking houses and vehicles, increasing the chance of detection and reducing the rewards.
He said most targets of crime in the City of Karratha were chosen opportunistically, meaning solid crime prevention strategies could make a big difference.
“When we have predominantly juvenile offenders committing burglaries and stealing offences, they are crimes of opportunity. They will be looking for houses that are good targets for them because the doors aren’t locked,” he said.
Sen. Sgt Stevens said he did not believe burglaries or thefts were under-reported because victims had the personal interest of recovering property by reporting them.
University of WA researcher in social media Dr David Glance said it was easy for people to get the wrong impression of crime rates through social media because information was highly personalised, sharing was instantaneous and like most media, it tended towards the extremes.
However he said there were also things authorities could do to balance that perception, such as making their positive results more visible across social media.
Karratha police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Andrew Stevens, right, pictured with Constable Adam Levak and First Class Constable Rosie McMinn.