Commissioner Bob Atkinson APM. Toowoomba flood and other awards ceremony at Empire Church Theatre. Photo Nev Madsen / The Chronicle
Commissioner Bob Atkinson APM. Toowoomba flood and other awards ceremony at Empire Church Theatre. Photo Nev Madsen / The Chronicle Nev Madsen

Qld police remain positive despite rise in crime rates

CAR thefts, break-ins, armed robberies and assaults have significantly contributed to crime rates in Queensland jumping 6% in the past year, bucking a decade of annual crime decreases.

But some of the worst crimes, such as murder and rape, have gone down in the 2011-12 financial year.

The number of murders dropped from 52 to 42 last year, while sexual and fraud matters fell 9%.

But there has been a 12% increase in armed robbery offences, which police say could be helped by the imminent gun amnesty, and a 24% increase in arson offences.

Outgoing Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said that apart from a slight increase last year, crime had been decreasing for 12 to 15 years, noting there was still a 17% crime decrease over the past decade.

He described this significant increase in the annual statistical review of crime and police clear-up rates on the eve of his retirement as "disappointing" and "concerning".

Mr Atkinson said the financial hardship through the current economic situation could be a potential contributor, but noted drugs were usually behind robberies and car thefts for joyrides were "a phenomena all of its own".

"Overall, the rates of crime are still down; it's a disappointing result and it's something we're concerned about and I know the police department, under Ian Stewart's leadership, will do all it can to turn this trend around," he said.

"The first three months of this statistical year ,so far, are showing some improvement but it's far too early to call.

"I wish we could say that every year we would reduce crime for the Queensland community, the reality of that would be that one day there would be no crime.

"That's not a viable option; please don't think that's a cop-out or we're easing up, we're not.

"It's not out of control but there is still far too much crime.

"We haven't got thousands of people committing one crime each day. What we usually have is small numbers of people in any given town ... committing a lot of crime."

Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart, who will step into the top job later this month, said he would be working with the mantra "stop crime".

"I and the rest of the department will be working very hard to drive those figures down," he said.

"I honestly believe there are ways we can do that - targeting recidivist offenders, more police on the frontline and using intelligence-based information to target hot spots."

Police Minister Jack Dempsey said his government was working on countering this trend through 1100 extra police and increasing deterrents through harsher sentencing in the courts.

Under a new initiative, the Queensland community can now view the state's month-by-month crime statistics for the past 15 years at mypolice.qld.gov.au/data.

 

2011-12 Crime Statistics

  • 6% crime increase in past financial year
  • 17% drop in crime rate over past 10 years
  • 12% rise in armed robberies
  • 24% rise in arsons
  • 22% rise in car thefts
  • 2% rise in offences against people, mostly assaults
  • Murders down 20%
  • Other homicide down 12%
  • 6% increase in property offences
  • 11% decrease in fraud


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