Pa­trol pro­posal re­jected

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

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.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Perera

Kar­ratha po­lice of­fi­cer-in-charge Se­nior Sergeant An­drew Stevens, right, pic­tured with Con­sta­ble Adam Le­vak and First Class Con­sta­ble Rosie McMinn.

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