As reported in the Melville Times last week, total offences across six categories, including assaults and burglaries, jumped from 64 to 97 in Murdoch last year. The 52 per cent leap was the highest across all 18 Melville suburbs.
Senior Sergeant Swannell said the increase was a natural consequence of the opening of Fiona Stanley Hospital, which has attracted thousands more people into the area daily; some of them with criminal intentions.
“Murdoch Police work closely with hospital management and security to minimise the chance of crimes being committed but there has been a rise in the number of thefts and assaults in the suburb of Murdoch since the hospital opened,” he said.
“Both domestic and non-domestic assaults have increased and this is largely the result of patients assaulting nursing staff and patients assaulting other patients.
“Theft has increased purely and simply as a result of thousands of people going through the hospital every day and unfortunately they provide a target for thieves.
“The opening of Fiona Stanley Hospital is like the creation of a new suburb overnight; it was always going to cause an increase in reported crime.”
Snr Sgt Swannell said a similar jump in crime had been observed in Cockburn Central and Banjup, locations that have also experienced rapid commercial and residential growth.
“With the crime rate rising about 17 per cent across the metropolitan area, these spikes in local crime are not shocking when put in context,” he said.
“In fact, if the extra crime created by this massive growth was taken out of the equation, you would find that the Murdoch Police sub-district has experienced only a slight increase in crime. It is a very safe place to live and work.”
He said that while rising crime had received widespread attention, the increase in arrests and number of police on the street was not widely publicised.
“Since the inception of the new Metropolitan Police Operating Model there have been 22 per cent more charges, 23 per more people on parole charged and 117 per cent more people on bail charged,” Snr Sgt Swannell said.
“In addition to that there is on average 10 per cent more police cars on the road every day of the week…”