Crime crackdown

Crime crackdown

More than 100 residents attended the forum to air their concerns about security fears.

Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan and Police Minister Liza Harvey addressed residents’ concerns and outlined their plans to curb the alarming crime statistics.

THE GOOD

The commissioner announced Operation Esteem, which will involve an additional 50 officers deployed to Mandurah in coming weeks.

‘There will be a significant increase in police resources in the next few months and beyond,’ he said.

Operation Esteem will start on August 12. It will focus on a reduction in crime, with a highly mobile strike force. The boost in resources will include traffic, mounted, canine, airwing, patrols, inquiry officers and detectives.

The operation will target known offenders and others involved in antisocial behaviour. The focus will be on shopping centres, entertainment precincts and public transport networks.

‘Operation Esteem is a short term task force, until we feel we have got crime under control,’ the commissioner said.

Plans are being considered for the deployment of additional permanently based officers in the Peel District.

THE BAD

The commissioner conceded crime statistics for Mandurah were ‘not good’ and were getting worse.

Deputy Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said there were unique pressures for police in the ‘fastest growing locality in the fastest growing State.’

Statistics showed alarming increases in domestic violence and assaults. These rates had escalated significantly in the past 10 years and were well above the State average.

About one person is subject to a street robbery each week in Mandurah and a business is burgled once a month on average.

The deputy commissioner said while family violence incidents were proportionately higher in Mandurah, much of the increase could be attributed to the more accurate reporting of domestic violence.

‘Police are spending far more time dealing with this,’ he said.

Priority one calls to police were also significantly higher in Mandurah than the State average. Locally, there are about 60 calls per month that involve a potentially life-threatening situation.

The commissioner said he had no plans for a police station in Secret Harbour, despite complaints from residents about poor police response times to the northern corridor. He favours a mobile rapid response team.

THE UGLY

Drugs were deemed the scurge of society, with a trend of increased drug apprehensions.

The deputy commissioner said the needle exchange program in Mandurah distributed about a quarter of a million needles each year.

He said there was a high correlation between crime and drug use, with people stealing to support their drug habit.