Top cop admits crime up in Bicton, Palmyra and Willagee, but says it’s not a ‘crisis’


About 100 people flocked to the City of Melville’s Civic Centre Wednesday evening for a forum on crime. Picture: Stock image
About 100 people flocked to the City of Melville’s Civic Centre Wednesday evening for a forum on crime. Picture: Stock image

A SPIKE in crime in Bicton, Palmyra and Willagee does not represent the “crisis” some people believe it is, according to the top cop for the area.

Speaking at the City of Melville’s Civic Centre Wednesday evening, Palmyra Police Station’s officer in charge Gavin Radice said crime was up.

But he said his four local policing teams were working to maintain levels set during a 2016-17 period where offences were down 18.9 per cent.

During that 2016-17 period, crime was down 19 per cent in Bicton, 26 per cent in Palmyra and 15 per cent in Willagee.Senior Sergeant Radice said those figures were “always going to be difficult to maintain”.

“We did manage to have further reductions until the end of last year however certainly at the beginning of 2018 until now we definitely are experiencing an increase in reported crime overall,” he said.

“At this stage of the year, and we have a chance to reduce this, we have a 6.8 per cent increase in crime as of last week.”

He said there was no cause for alarm despite the jump.

“It’s really important to point out – Bicton, Palmyra Willagee – firstly, you live in safe suburbs,” he said.

“Your suburbs are not in crisis despite what some people might believe.

“That’s not to say that your suburbs don’t face challenges.

“They will face challenges and there are issues which I have to say is no different to the other 12 remaining suburbs.”

Snr Sgt Radice said the public should report information or suspicious behaviour to police before issues are taken to the local council’s Community Safety Service or posted on social media.

“If there is a spike in crime in my suburbs, we will increase patrols in those suburbs,” he said.

About 100 people flocked to the Civic Centre for what was described in the lead up as a “facilitated discussion”.

Presenters – including Snr Sgt Radice, Denise Marchese, a representative from the Department of Community Services’ Housing Division, and the City’s neighbourhood amenity manager Brodie Dawkins – had pre-prepared information based on questions put to them online.

But the evening threatened to boil over when it looked like ratepayers would not be able to pose questions from the floor.

That was eventually reversed, with answers sought on issues ranging from begging, break-ins and burglaries to drug and alcohol related issues at government housing on Canning Highway and in Willagee.

Ms Marchese said her team was taking steps to address concerns with public housing, but said it was the Magistrates Court that often defines the outcome when it is legislation that has been breached.

“It is only the magistrate that can make the decision to evict someone,” she said.

She said that often meant members of the public were needed to come forward to prove there were problems, citing a case where a Magistrate dismissed a complaint because no witnesses showed up.

“I understand you’re going to court with the person who lives next door to you,” she said.

“I understand how that would make you feel however the correct arena to have someone evicted from the property is to be heard in the magistrate’s court.

“I realise that’s not going to go down very well but that’s the procedure we follow.”

MORE: Top 10 worst Perth suburbs for water wastage revealed

MORE: Perth shark warning: two people injured close to shore

MORE: Two people dead in car crash near New Norcia