No need to call for back-up yet
Newly released figures on crime and policing in Queensland indicate that officer numbers are not an issue, writes
IN REGIONAL Queensland, residents say, it’s still safe to leave the front door unlocked. Some say there is no crime. Head into built-up city areas and the feeling quickly changes, with the perception that crime is soaring. But is it?
New figures show violent crime offences against people increased by 5 per cent in Queensland last year.
Robbery offences increased by 20 per cent, assaults by 5 per cent and sex offences 2 per cent, according to Queensland Police Service figures of reported offences.
The preliminary annual figures show personal crime offences increased by 5.5 per cent.
Despite the spike, the number of cases of murder, attempted murder and manslaughter dropped.
Property crime offences increased over the year by about 5.5 per cent. This includes break-ins, which increased by 3 per cent.
“Other theft”, which includes stolen cars and other stealing offences, increased by 10 per cent.
The number of reported fraud offences was down 4.5 per cent.
“Other offences”, which include drug, liquor, good order, weapons and traffic offences, was down about 5 per cent, while the number of domestic violence order protection breaches increased by 2 per cent over the year.
But the number of these offences has rocketed 81 per cent since 2013-14, when changes were made to legislation. Drug offences dropped 5 per cent over the year, with about 80,000 offences reported.
Bond University associate professor of criminology and former Queensland detective Terry Goldsworthy (pictured) said overall there had been about a 1 per cent decrease in the reported crime rate.
But he said that the statistics were not positive for the QPS and that in the past, an increase in “other offences” had been touted as “proactive policing”.
There has been a restructure of regions and highranking officers have been made redundant during the past five years. “If you line that up with the restructure … we’ve had no great outcomes in regards to policing in Queensland, when looking at crime rates,” Mr Goldsworthy said. He said if there was increasing property and personal crime, then the figures should show increased crime enforcement. “If you are seeing increases in the drug markets, then you would need to see an increase in enforcement in that area (but there isn’t an increase),” he said. “We know property crime is linked to drug crime. “If you are looking at personal crime, robberies and assaults are through the roof.” Mr Goldsworthy said that the Northern region was “far and above” the Queensland crime rate for offences against the person and property, while the Southeastern region was ahead on offences against property. Brisbane, Central and Southern regions had fewer increases, Mr Goldsworthy said. “When you look at other offences, which is indicative of police effort, Northern is well and truly above the state average,” he said. “For them, the number of other offences is 736. They are doing a lot of enforcement up there in that regard. When you look at Southeastern, we are below the state average for other offences, which is an interesting contrast.
“The two I’d be worried about looking at the crime rate, certainly on a very basic level, would be Northern and Southeastern regions.
“If you were in Southeastern region, you would want to know why the rate of other offences is down so much,” he said.
Police might not need as many telephone intercepts for lower-scale drug investigations, Mr Goldsworthy said. Technology has a role to play, but should not be at the expense of basic policing.
He also questioned police involvement in “pre-crime”, when officers were putting effort into consorting offences, for people with previous criminal convictions, rather than potential criminals.
Mr Goldsworthy said that while more officers would always help reduce the crime rate, Queensland wasn’t at panic level in terms of officer numbers.
We know property crime is linked to drug crime TERRY GOLDSWORTHY