Game plan to combat post-COVID crime spike
POLICE are warning they are poised to strike and target crime spotfires as Cairns awakes from its COVID pause.
Crime levels plummeted across the state, including in the Far North, during the virus lockdown, particularly property offences, with potential thieves and burglars likely put off by residents staying home.
As restrictions began to ease in May, there was a slight up-tick in offence numbers into June.
Chief Superintendent Brian Huxley said crime levels were well down on the horror January and February the city endured, but a resurgence was inevitable.
He said now was the time for residents to take action and prepare themselves, their homes and other property to ensure they did not become "an easy target".
"Common sense would be it; you're now at home and you're usually at work - that is going to have a massive impact on offences," he said.
"That's going to change."
Most crime categories remain well down over the past three months, including robberies, break-ins and sexual offences, although car thefts have begun to climb.
Incredibly, not a single property crime was recorded in Edmonton for six consecutive days last week.
But Chief Supt Huxley said police were gearing up for predicted flare-ups.
"It's about being agile and flexible," he said.
"We've got to be able to move very quickly if we see crime occurring in certain suburbs. We have to be able to direct resources to different areas.
"Particularly, this is how the community interact with police as well.
"(Their) part of this is ensuring they're passing on information to the police.
"The lessons out of coronavirus is people being around and aware of what is happening in their neighbourhood is the best strategy of all."
Part of the State Government's "five-part plan" aimed at targeting youth crime is a new co-responder program teaming a police officer with a Youth Justice staffer.
Chief Supt Huxley said the program had been operating in Cairns for several weeks, often involving an indigenous police liaison officer and Youth Justice worker teaming up and visiting youths following their arrests.
"There is a better chance of directing them to the services they require," Chief Supt Huxley said.
"It's about getting the best outcome with the right people talking to the family involved."
Originally published as Game plan to combat post-COVID crime spike