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Canberrans want more cops on beat

By DOMINIQUE HARALDSON
Canberra residents want greater police presence in local neighbourhoods, after a survey released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) last week shows the ACT to have the second-highest rate of malicious property damage in Australia.

The ABS Crime Victimisation Survey found that 11% of Australian households were victims of at least one incident of property damage in the previous 12 months The ACT figure was 16%.

Some Wanniassa residents want a greater police presence, after numerous incidents of theft and property damage in their streets over the past two years, particularly in the last 6 months.

“We need more police running patrols on our local problem streets, particularly during early hours of the morning on weekends and focussing on the protection of citizens property rather than the seemingly high number of police assigned to traffic duty”, one Wanniassa resident said after his brick letterbox was smashed over the weekend, and a piece of rubble thrown through the back window of a parked car outside his home. (Monday 22 Feb 2010)

This resident contacted police after discovering the damage later in the morning, but was told there was little they could do without “forensic” evidence.

The AFP’s annual report says property damage during 2008-2009 increased 7% since the 2007-2008 report.

“It is important to note that the recording of these types of crimes is reliant on the victims contacting police to make a complaint,” Acting Commander Chris Sheehan of the AFP said. (Thursday 25 Feb 2010)

The clear up rate of property offences by the AFP was only 14% over 2008-2009, due to the nature of these crimes. Most offenders are not seen at the time and are unknown to victims, making it hard to press charges.

“As part of the Suburban Policing Strategy members of each station regularly undertake patrols of their dedicated patrol zone to help deter and prevent crime in the community,” Commander Sheehan said.

“We liaise regularly with members of our local Neighbourhood Watch programs and rely on members of our community to report suspicious behaviour to police as soon as possible.”

The AFP encourages all members of the public to report any crime they may be a victim of, or may witness via ACT Policing Operations on 131-444 or via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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