Crims love the freedom

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
South West Police district superintendent Geoff Stewart.
Camera IconSouth West Police district superintendent Geoff Stewart. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

Local police have warned the relaxation of the region’s border means a potential spike in the crime rate as “criminal elements” seek to take advantage of travel freedoms.

South West Police superintendent Geoff Stewart said officers had welcomed a reduction in criminal activity during the past two months, but residents needed to avoid complacency.

“Certainly now that the borders are more open, they are going to be open to people we don’t want to see down here,” Supt Stewart said.

“They will be here for easy pickings.

“If people see anything suspicious, report it to police and do it at the time it’s happening so we can go and find the people.”

Margaret River station boss Sergeant Luke Fowler said residents accustomed to the relaxed mood of the past few months needed to take greater care now with security and valuables, including vehicles.

“Locking vehicles and removing valuables prior to going off for a few hours will significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of theft,” he said.

“Most thefts are opportunistic, and when presented with obstacles, the majority of thieves will move on to an easier target. Our message is to not be that easy target.”

Sgt Fowler said the region saw more home burglaries than were warranted.

“The offences we do see typically involved unlocked doors or open windows,” he said.

“They almost never involve homes with alarms, CCTV cameras or even locked doors.”

Police understood not everyone had the means to install home security, so residents with concerns were encouraged to call their location station.

“We patrol the town regularly,” he said. “We’d be more than happy to spend some time on your street if it will help address any issues of crime or anti-social behaviour.”

Residents were also reminded social distancing requirements remained in place, and the influx of tourists might challenge that practice.

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