Home Burglaries tripled in January compared to November
Compared to November 2013, burglaries of dwellings in the Mid West Gascoyne district of Western Australia were 3.7 times higher in January 2014. The figure is also double that of January 2013.
Official statistics made available by the Western Australian Police reveal that burglaries of dwellings in the Midwest-Gascoyne district spiked heavily in the months of December and January, with 94 and 191 home burglaries respectively.
This is up heavily on the November figures where there were 51 home burglaries. It is also the highest number of home burglaries in a January since 2002 (198).
General theft incidents and motor vehicle theft were also higher during this time compared to earlier months.
The statistics don’t seem to line up with statements made by CGG Mayor Ian Carpenter who in February stated that reports that crime was out of control were untrue.
In an ABC article titled “Geraldton crime rate claims are 'simply incorrect’ “ the Mayor of Greater Geraldton said "The statistics I've seen demonstrate to me that our community is probably no different than any other community in Western Australia. So if you're going to say these things on social media, then people need to be aware that sometimes what is being said is simply incorrect."
During the months of December and January, Everything Geraldton was inundated with reports from the community about break ins and thefts. While many members of the public expressed gratitude at being kept up to date with the information, others blamed social media for making it appear crime had increased when it hadn’t.
Some good news
Geraldton Police were not oblivious to the sharp rise in burglaries in January, and quickly implemented Operation Nighthawk to target specific persons of interest. A recent update from Operation Nighthawk revealed 33 individuals were charged with 169 offences.
Supervisor of the Geraldton Police Volume Crime Team Sergeant Jayd Morawski, said the Police had been working overtime to see these results.
“The guys in the station are working as hard as they possibly can,” he said.
“They have been literally chasing offenders to see these outcomes come to fruition.
“We’ve responded to what the community have said and we are doing our utmost to get offenders off the street.” Read more about Operation Nighthawk and its impact on Geraldton crime here: http://everythinggeraldton.com.au/2014/03/28/operation-nighthawk-shows-results/
More Police Needed
The ability to attract Police to regional areas is still an ongoing challenge from the state Liberal government.
In August last year the state Governement promised to increase incentive payments to encourage police to stay longer in regional areas like Geraldton.
At the time, WA Police Union’s director for the Central Region, Sergeant Michael Gill, said it went ‘some way’ towards rectifying an overdue discrepancy in pay for country police. Regional complexities and the cost of living deters police officers from moving to Regional WA (RWA), the financial incentives will go some way toward addressing this issue.
However, he warned that the new scheme did not eliminate the issue of locality allowances the union had been seeking.
“This is basically an edited version of what we sought, which for example would see Geraldton classed as a station of Moderate Regional Complexity,” said Sgt Gill.
“That would add a location allowance of $4500 per annum, plus $2250 for the first dependant and $1125 for the second dependant.
“Our industrial agreement expires in June next year and I have no doubt the WA Police Union will be pushing for the upgraded locality allowance then."
Historical figures for Burglaries (Dwellings) in the Mid West Gascoyne District
2001/02 November 103 December 122 January 198
2002/03 November 153 December 97 January 137
2003/04 November 111 December 109 January 99
2004/05 November 103 December 85 January 121
2005/06 November 113 December 102 January 107
2006/07 November 75 December 81 January 89
2007/08 November 75 December 75 January 105
2008/09 November 80 December 54 January 62
2009/10 November 76 December 101 January 108
2010/11 November 71 December 57 January 107
2011/12 November 58 December 77 January 96
2012/13 November 78 December 57 January 83
2013/14 November 51 December 94 January 191