A FORMER WA Police officer who spent more than a decade investigating drug crimes has told exasperated business owners in Kalamunda that the drug ice is a driving force behind a spate of burglaries in the area.
Peter McComish said there was no doubt drugs had played a role in the burglary rate.
“Many of the robberies in Kalamunda are being undertaken by lazy, opportunistic thieves who don’t want to work too hard to do it,” he said.
“These burglars are generally living a hand-to-mouth existence to get cash to buy drugs.
“What we learnt from catching these guys and getting them to explain why they chose this house or this business is that firstly they are looking for somewhere relatively easy to get into and out of without being detected.
“They are looking for anything of quick value that can be readily sold, such as computers, laptops and phones.”
But Mr McComish said business owners could take steps to protect their premises.
“It’s a trade-off but any measures that make the property unattractive will mean burglars are more likely to bypass it,” he said.
“Where businesses have back doors and laneways, owners need to install solid doors, decent locks, CCTV and lighting, and in the front of premises install security screens.
“Businesses can also use anti-burglary clear films on windows and ensure no cash or valuables are left on site.”
Mr McComish said it was common for burglars to return after an initial break-in.
“Some burglars need to steal so regularly it quickly turns into a blur which businesses and homes they have targeted,” he said.
“However if they did particularly well out of, say, an electronics business and drive past a month later and no obvious security measures have been implemented, then they think ‘lets do it again’.
“If you have been hit once and don’t do anything about it, that’s not terribly smart.”
But Mr McComish said while Kalamunda was in the grip of a crime spree, statistically it was not the worst area for break-ins.
“The figures I’ve looked at show Kalamunda is in bottom third percentile for burglary rates,” he said.
“It’s certainly not as bad as some other suburbs; however various media releases and police stats show there is a recognised problem with drugs and burglary in Kalamunda.”
Forrestfield Police Station officer-in-charge Sergeant Simon Parke said investigations were under way into several burglary and related offences in the area.
“Local police and the Shire of Kalamunda were awarded State Government funding specifically for CCTV to be placed in Haynes Street, Kalamunda and three other locations within the Shire.
“Works have commenced and are expected to be completed this month.”
Sgt Parke urged the public to report suspicious behaviour by calling 13144.
“Quite often offences can be prevented,” he said.