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Car theft on the radar after spike in 2012

Date

Christopher Knaus and Lisa Cox

ACT Police Minister, Simon Corbell.

ACT Police Minister, Simon Corbell. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Homicides and car thefts in the ACT  increased last year, a  period that was otherwise marked by a decline in crime for the territory.

ACT Policing’s latest statistics show crime dropped dramatically, as assaults, burglaries, thefts and property damage all hit five-year lows.

And while there was a rise in car thefts, ACT Police Minister Simon Corbell said the statistics still put the territory below the national average.

Seven homicides were reported last year, compared with four the previous year

The figure puts the number of homicides slightly above the five-year average of 6.6.

But Mr Corbell said the statistic did not indicate an upward trend.

‘‘Whilst it in no way diminishes the gravity of that offence, a relatively small increase in that offence is going to be very noticeable from a statistical standpoint,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m always very concerned about any homicide in the community ... but these are crimes that are dealt with promptly by police with people charged and put before the court.’’

Assaults dropped to their lowest level since at least 2008, after 2208 assaults were reported last year, compared with 2500 the previous year, 2524 in 2010, 2416 in 2009 and 2510 in 2008.

That was in line with a wider drop in violent crime. The number of reported sexual assaults fell last year, and ‘‘offences against a person’’ –  which include abduction, harassment, and threatening behaviour –  were also at their lowest level since at least 2008.

The concerted effort to tackle property crime, a keen focus for Mr Corbell and ACT Policing, also continues to achieve success.

Burglaries, thefts, and property damage last year were cut to their lowest levels in five years.

The number of burglaries has more than halved since 2009, falling to 2426 reported offences during 2012.

There were 9649 reports of theft last year, falling from 9868 in 2011, from 12,670 in 2010 and from 13,159 in 2009.

A jump in the number of stolen cars –  from 1009 in 2011 to 1135 last year – was the only poor result in property crime and ACT Policing will put more resources into tackling the problem. But the level of motor vehicle thefts is still well below the five-year average of 1582 cars stolen a year.

Acting Superintendent of ACT Policing Intelligence, Chris Meagher, said more resources would be  provided to tackle car theft, but he said the downward trend was otherwise pleasing.

‘‘As a primarily intelligence-led police force, we rely on these statistics and reports from members of the public to focus our resources appropriately,’’ Acting Superintendent Meagher said

‘‘The crime statistics are a useful tool for police, and provides the community access to information to see what is happening in their neighbourhood, first-hand.’’

Mr Corbell said the figures overall showed that the government’s efforts to tackle crime were working, particularly in relation to property crime.

‘‘For a long time we had   the highest level of car theft in the country and we’re now below the national average, which is very positive for the community.’’

The crime statistics are available on the ACT Policing website, police.act.gov.au

 

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