In Law & Order

Western Australia Attorney-General Christian Porter

Western Australia Minister for Police Rob Johnson

Overall Reported Crime Down 8.5 %

Victor P Taffa

The State Government has released Police statistics that show overall reported crime in Western Australia fell 8.5 % in 2009 compared to 2008.

Reported crimes against people and property were down 11.5 % in the second half of 2009 as compared to the same period in 2008.

The statistics were jointly released today by Attorney-General Christian Porter and Police Minister Rob Johnson.

“These falls in overall reported crime shows that the Liberal-National Government’s law and order initiatives are making inroads into making our community safer.” Mr. Porter said.

Mr. Porter said the quarterly breakdown of total reported crime throughout 2009, as compared to the same period in 2008, showed a steady downward trend. The quarterly breakdown for 2009 showed falls of:

  • 3.7 % January to March
  • 7.8 % April to June
  • 13.1 % July to September
  • 9.9 % October to December.

Mr. Porter said what was particularly pleasing was the significant falls in reported crime across a range of offences. These included:

  • Reported offences against property decreasing every quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarters in 2008 with an overall drop of 11.5 % in the October to December quarter;
  • Burglary decreasing every quarter of 2009 compared to 2008, down by 12.6 % in the October to December period compared to the same quarter of 2008.
  • Motor vehicle theft decreased every quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarters in 2008, the October to December quarter showing a 14 % decrease compared to the same period in 2008.

Theft decreased every quarter in 2009 compared to the same quarters of 2008, down 13.6 % in the October to December period compared to 2008.

Police Minister Rob Johnson said the Government would continue to put downward pressure on crime through the introduction of new weapons offences, additional stop and search powers for police and prohibited behaviour orders.

“While these trends are encouraging, we know that we need to continue to pursue those policies that we believe will be in the best long-term benefit of the community.” Mr. Johnson said.

The Attorney General said significant decreases in reported crime had coincided with a rise in the prison population of 679 between March and December last year.

“What is clear is that if we take serious criminals off our streets the effect of keeping offenders in prison longer means there is less potential for them to reoffend and more potential for them to get the rehabilitative programs they need.” Mr. Porter said.

Mr. Porter said the increase in prisoners included:

  • 200 with offences against the person,
  • 121 burglars or thieves,
  • 90 offenders for robbery,
  • 55 for drug offences.

“The increase in prison population can be attributed to better policing methods combined with more stringent parole conditions.” Mr. Porter said.

“Since the Liberal-National Government came to power, prisoners are now undertaking more rehabilitative programs and must meet much more stringent conditions to get parole.”

“The community expects the Government to target crime; they expect there to be serious consequences for criminal behaviour; and they expect that once sentenced offenders will be dealt with strictly but with the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves.”

Police Minister Rob Johnson said the drop in offences against the person, such as robbery, fell a staggering 21.2 % in the July to September quarter compared to the same period in 2008 and finished with a decrease of 7.4 % in the final quarter compared to 2008.

Mr. Johnson said the efforts of WA Police in targeting Prolific and other Priority Offenders (PPOs) could also be largely attributed to the 2009 reductions.

“Police in metropolitan and regional WA are concentrating their efforts on the small minority of repeat offenders that commit the majority of crimes in our community.” Mr. Johnson said.

The Minister said that in managing repeat offenders Police had adopted strategies including bail checks and responding immediately to court appearance, curfew and parole breaches as well as targeted covert operations.

“In some regional areas, this had led to a 30 % reduction in the number of burglaries in 2009 from the previous year, an outstanding figure which shows the targeted strategy is working.”

Mr. Johnson said there had been a marginal increase in assaults

(Up 2.1 % in the October to December quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008)

and a nearly 50 % increase in arson in the April to June quarter in 2009 compared to the same period in 2008.

“We have already introduced more stringent penalties for arson introduced into Parliament last year with offenders who wilfully destroy or damage property by fire now facing up to life imprisonment.” Mr. Johnson said.

WA Minister for Police Rob Johnson

WA Minister for Police Rob Johnson

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