Build­ing site crime costs


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Health Communities - Su­sanne Reilly

AN amount of $41,000 could eas­ily buy you a new car, a nice hol­i­day or even pay off your mort­gage. But it is also the amount build­ing com­pa­nies pay ev­ery month as wa­ter me­ters, among other things, get stolen from build­ing sites.

South East Metropoli­tan com­mu­nity en­gage­ment co-or­di­na­tor Sergeant Matthew Sharp said WA Po­lice was work­ing closely with Merid­ian Se­cu­rity and the build­ing in­dus­try to re­duce the num­ber of of­fences be­ing com­mit­ted on build­ing sites.

He said they worked with BUSTED, an acro­nym for Builders United to Stop Theft, formed by com­pa­nies rep­re­sent­ing about 60 per cent of new home starts in Perth.

BUSTED co-or­di­na­tor Kevin Minch­in­ton said the group had planted track­ing de­vices in some fre­quently stolen items.

Last month, the tech­nol­ogy helped nab a man from the South-East Metropoli­tan Dis­trict who was charged with more than 10 counts of theft or steal­ing from a build­ing site.

“Wa­ter me­ters are keep­ing us busy, cop­per wire too. They might get $50 at most for scrap metal but it costs about $500 to get the sparky back to re-lay the wire,” Mr Minch­in­ton said. “The dam­age done is bloody an­noy­ing.” Sgt Sharp said now that the Front­line 20/20 Po­lice model had rolled out across the metropoli­tan area, lo­cal polic­ing teams would be iden­ti­fy­ing build­ing sites where theft and dam­age to homes un­der con­struc­tion oc­cur. He urged the com­mu­nity to re­port sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour.

“If it doesn’t look right, it prob­a­bly isn’t, so make a phone call,” he said.

■ Re­port sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour to 131 444 or your Lo­cal Polic­ing Team.

Pic­ture: Mar­cus Whisson

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