Theft, burglary on the rise

Crime is back on the rise in Collie, with stealing offences increasing more than 26 per cent in the past financial year, according to recently published police data.

ON THE LOOKOUT: Snr Sgt Heath Soutar is a familiar face in Collie, where he is the officer in charge at the local police station. Photo: Collie Mail.

ON THE LOOKOUT: Snr Sgt Heath Soutar is a familiar face in Collie, where he is the officer in charge at the local police station. Photo: Collie Mail.

The Western Australia Police Force Crime Statistics report shows the number of offences has increased steadily over the past 3 years, with stealing and burglary offences increasing across the board.

But it hasn't reached the same levels experienced during 2014-15 and 2015-16 and the town saw a general decrease in the number of assaults, threats and drug offences reported in 2018-19 compared to the previous year.

Collie Police Officer In Charge Heath Soutar said despite the increase in crime statistics, Collie was still a safe place to live.

"At the moment, there is a bit of a trend in burglaries and it appears to occur most frequently with the elderly and vacant premises," he said.

"Crime is a problem throughout Australia, if you look at Perth and the serious crimes occurring there, we can certainly say Collie is a safe place to live. It's just about community members being mindful of their home and surroundings.

"A lot of the offences we are seeing are opportunistic, if they see something that takes their fancy they're going to open the door or break a window and take it.

"Because of this, we need the public to be smart and not make it easier for crooks. Ask your neighbours or friends to keep an eye on your home if you're going out of town, don't leave your bag on the seat in your car, lock the doors even if you're just doing the gardening out the back."

Snr Sgt Soutar also encouraged the community members to reach out to police if they saw suspicious activity.

In the last financial year, police recorded 109 dwelling burglaries and 36 non-dwelling burglaries, compared to 95 and 26 respectively in 2017-18, however, property damage offences decreased from 151 to 135.

Recorded incidents of stealing rose from 166 to 210, while incidents of motor vehicle theft rose from 17 to 20.

Despite the increase in burglary and theft-related incidents, the incidence of other offences fell during the 2018-19 financial year.

In comparison, Bunbury experienced a total of 564 recorded thefts, 68 dwelling burglaries and 30 non-dwelling burglaries in 2018/19 and 169 incidents of property damage.

Collie experienced a total of 102 assaults, compared to 134 in 2017-18, sexual offences dropped from 25 to 17, but threatening behaviour offences rose from 13 to 29 incidents.

Police also reported 135 incidents of property damage and 123 drug offences over the course of the 2018/19 financial year.