Fyshwick continues to lead the way as Canberra's worst suburb for burglaries, with a Lyell Street business suffering two break-ins in a three-week period.
DRB Equipment Repairs owner Darren Russell called for more police patrols in Fyshwick after a thief broke into the store early on the morning of Monday, July 29, and took a fire fighting pump and a chainsaw.
Mr Russell's nearby storage yard was also targeted on July 10, with thieves cutting through padlocks on the gate to gain access and steal a commercial-grade pressure washer.
The yard had been enclosed by a chain link fence, Mr Russell said, but he replaced it about six months ago after thieves made at least 12 forced entries over a two-year period.
“We got sick of the chainmail mesh being cut, so we put a steel fence up, and [on July 10] they've just busted all the locks on the chain, gone in and taken a big machine that takes three to four people to lift up and move,” he said.
There were 46 reported burglaries in Fyshwick between January 1 and June 30, 2013, cementing the suburb's position as Canberra's break-in hotspot – in 2012, Fyshwick experienced 105 burglaries, 20 more than second-placed Kambah.
Mr Russell said opportunistic thieves were targeting Fyshwick businesses due to a lack of police patrols.
“When the police say they can't turn up on Friday or Saturday because they're too busy in town – Fyshwick is looked after by Civic [police station] – there's never any cars out here on the weekend,” he said.
An ACT Policing spokesman said there were more than 3000 patrols in the suburb in the past three years.
Mr Russell showed The Chronicle CCTV footage of the July 29 incident where the offender, illuminated by a motion-sensor light, spent almost 15 minutes trying to pry the front door open. “That's the way in Fyshwick, you don't have to worry about being in a rush. They can do whatever they like out here at night," he said.
An ACT Policing spokesman said its intelligence-led Suburban Policing Strategy aimed to engage with the community on real and perceived issues of crime and safety. “An important aspect of this model is actively monitoring levels of crime, and deploying resources to areas as required,” the spokesman said. “This includes residential and commercial areas. As part of this model, 3361 active police patrols have occurred in Fyshwick since July 2010.”
Mr Russell said he had also been frustrated by a poor quality private security service – it took a security patrolman four hours to respond after the store's alarm was triggered by the July 29 break-in. “I'm over it, [the] policing, the security system, the ACT government. There's just no money coming in for policing in industrial areas,” he said. “Hume's the same – my friends' businesses in Hume get broken into all the time. There's never any patrols.”
Mr Russell said the lack of policing reflected a wider trend of ACT government neglect in Fyshwick.
“I don't get a garbage pick up, I don't get anything in return for the rates and the land tax,” he said.
¦ If you are a business in Fyshwick that has experienced a burglary in the past 24 months, The Chronicle would like to hear from you; email firstname.lastname@example.org Anyone with information about the break-in at DRB Equipment should phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.