Residents react to 'spike' in crime
DEB McCutcheon reckons she's not one to overreact.
But the manager of a small Gladstone business is concerned about the safety of her staff following what she describes as a recent "spike" of crime in the Gladstone CBD.
"In the last four to six weeks, we've noticed a significant difference," she said. "One of our employees had her bag snatched off her after she finished work, and that was in the middle of the day.
"The people next door to us had their car broken into.
"We've heard about incidents of robberies in nearby businesses.
"It just seems to be on the increase."
Ms McCutcheon has lived in Gladstone for almost seven years and said she has never felt threatened in the way she does now.
"In our last team meeting, we focused on safety. What would we do if someone came in here and asked for money?
"We are open until seven or eight at night and the girls have started locking the doors, even if we still have clients inside.
"It's become that much of a worry for us," she said.
Ms McCutcheon said she was speaking out not to cause alarm or panic in the community, but to raise awareness.
"I just want people to know about it.
"I don't know what the answer is but we're playing it safe."
Sergeant Jim Vogler has said it until he is blue in the face.
Lock it, or lose it.
Gladstone police are urging residents to be vigilant with their personal property and safety after a spate of thefts in recent months.
Although Sgt Vogler was unable to comment on whether there has been a recent increase in crime in Gladstone, he did say theft and break-ins were often occurring fairly often throughout the region.
"It's not like 40 years ago when grandma and grandpa slept with their front door open. It's just not like that any more," he said.
"Society is changing and, unfortunately, we need to change with it. People need to be aware of their personal security."
Sgt Vogler said, in his opinion, there were no particular "hot spots" of crime in Gladstone, but that the problem was widespread.
"It's all over. There are some places like building sites which are targets for certain things... but really it's all over," he said.
"Realistically, Gladstone isn't a big place. For young offenders to get around, it's not difficult to get from one side of town to the other whether on foot or in a vehicle."
Sgt Vogler said the best way for residents to avoid potential theft was to make the process as difficult for offenders as possible.
"The harder it is for offenders, the harder it is for them to commit the offence," he said. "So lock your cars, lock your house, lock your yards.
"The more effort it takes to break into someone's property the less likely it is someone will go through with it. Most offending is opportunistic."
Sgt Vogler also reminded residents to mind their own personal security and safety.