Far North records biggest crime rise in Queensland
THE Far North has recorded the biggest percentage increase in crime in the state, according to annual statistics released yesterday by the Queensland Police Service.
The region claimed the unwanted honour, tying with the Gold Coast which also recorded an 11 per cent increase in crime for the past financial year.
That figure almost doubled the state crime rate which rose 6 per cent, the first increase in a decade.
But Cairns residents should not be living in fear according to James Cook University criminology Prof Chris Cunneen.
He said geographic differences, high unemployment and lower tourism would all have bearings on the
Some of the key results were:
• 31 per cent increase in assaults on police
• 18 per cent increase in total assaults
• 15 per cent increase in property offences
• 21 per cent increase in unlawful entry offences (residential and commercial)
• 17 per cent increase in unlawful use/theft of motor vehicles• 22 per cent increase in robberies
Acting Chief Supt Brian Connors attributed the increased reporting of crime to some of the rise while condemning the rise in assaults of officers.
He said juvenile offenders, particularly in the Cairns District, accounted for the increase in property crimes.
"The majority of those property crime categories that have increased trend-wise over five years are property offences related specifically to juvenile offending and that is vehicles being stolen, houses being broken into and people being the subject of robberies in the street," he said.
The Far North region includes Cairns, Innisfail and Mareeba districts with the Cairns area also taking in Cape York.
"Probably, the first point to make is it’s covering such a huge geographical area and you can’t compare what’s happening in Aurukun to what’s happening in Stratford," he said.
"We have one of the highest unemployment rates in the state and that’s been exacerbated by the global financial crisis and the drop in tourism, and the social economic disadvantage that has occurred will also have had an effect."
The statistics period ended on June 30, two weeks before the launch of CBD crime blitz Operation Escalate which saw 20 additional officers posted to the region for six months.
Cairns MP Gavin King said there was no guarantee this operation would see a drop in crime next year as it was restricted to just the Cairns District.
"We know this has been building to this point for a number of years and we know what we tried in the past hasn’t worked right," he said.
He backed Prof Cunneen’s view regarding geographical difference with the Cairns district’s figures being affected
by Cape York which "contain higher incidents of crime".
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.