A WANNEROO police officer says there is a misconception that local crime rates are increasing.
Senior Sergeant Simon Hazell made the comments at a crime prevention talk in Gnangara hosted by Wanneroo Business Association.
The presentation gave business owners tools to prevent them becoming victims of crime and how to respond to incidents.
Sgt Hazell said the four Wanneroo local policing teams covered 14 suburbs and were involved in community engagement, crime prevention, victim support, investigations, offender management, responding to tasks and emergency management.
Though current crime hot spots are Wangara (burglary and theft), Carramar and Banksia Grove (theft), the rates were down 11.1 per cent on last year.
The teams have been involved in operations targeting stolen vehicles in Wangara, Banksia Grove, Landsdale and Wanneroo and tackling burglaries in Wangara, which netted 88 and 26 arrests respectively.
Sgt Hazell encouraged people to focus on deterrents, such as using anti-theft licence plate screws on vehicles and keeping businesses well lit, and said reporting incidents was vital even if police could not catch offenders.
“Are we going to solve every crime? No we can’t, we physically can’t. We’re trying to make people more accountable and do things to reduce the likelihood of becoming victims,” he said.
Community engagement co-ordinator Damian Ellson cited lack of reporting among business owners as the “biggest issue”.
“We can’t respond to incidences if we don’t know about them,” he said.
They offered armed robbery training packages that Sgt Ellson believed were beneficial for staff.
“It won’t stop you being a victim of armed robbery but it will teach you how to deal with it,” he said.
Responding to a question about victims’ rights, Sgt Hazell said people could defend their property if they felt genuinely threatened but it was not advised.
“If you find someone in your house our advice is to go somewhere safe, shut the door, call triple zero and ask for urgent police assistance,” he said.
“Don’t put yourself at risk.”
People were urged to be proactive to prevent crime and make use of various information materials.
Tips included marking personal property such as electronic items with a UV pen available from police, keeping cars and premises secure, reporting incidents and knowing how to respond to crimes.