POLICE statistics showing a 10 per cent rise in metropolitan property crime in January and February compared to the same time last year, despite the new Summer Crime Reduction Strategy, is a concerning trend.
Of greater concern is the stubbornly high level of offences against people, which has averaged about 2000 a month from December to February.
Uniformed police cannot be watching over every street corner all of the time, but it is hard to argue that a higher visual presence would not deter would-be offenders and improve response times to incidents.
It is a point that WA Police Union president Russell Armstrong has laboured for some time to make a difference to metropolitan crime rates.
He says an extra 350 police officers are needed urgently in the metropolitan area, as well as changes to cut red tape and paperwork burdens.
The worry for Perth is that in the past few months there have been “more officers on the front line than ever before”.
Stephen Brown – the then acting Police Deputy Commissioner – made that admission in reference to the recruitment of an extra 150 officers in time for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October.
Police Minister Rob Johnson confirmed it last week, saying that police numbers are in fact presently “over authorised strength”.
At the same time he warned that any further growth in numbers would be dependant on the Budget process.
Crime issues go to the very heart of our community’s sense of safety and security, and can have long-lasting effects on people who have been violated.
Seeing more uniforms would be a strong starting point to a broader, longer-term crime reduction strategy.