District superintendent Roger Beer fears someone could be killed if rock-throwing spate in Geraldton continues

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Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
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Mid West Gascoyne Superintendent Roger Beer.
Camera IconMid West Gascoyne Superintendent Roger Beer. Credit: Francesca Mann

The region’s top cop fears someone will end up killed if a rock-throwing spate in Geraldton continues, as the number of juveniles caught by police for “volume crimes” has almost doubled in two months.

Mid West Gascoyne District Supt Roger Beer said 83 juveniles had been apprehended for volume crimes such as burglaries, stealing and damage offences — which include rock-throwing — last month compared with 56 in April and 43 in March.

In recent weeks, police have been issuing warnings and public pleas for victims to report incidents of rock-throwing along North West Coastal Highway and the fringes of Rangeway and Spalding.

“One of my concerns if we see this continue ... is if some driver is distracted, if a rock comes through their windscreen, they could crash, or be seriously injured or even killed,” Supt Beer said.

He said a fair proportion of rock-throwing offenders were 10 or younger — below the age of criminal responsibility — so all police could do was take them home and talk to them and their parents about the dangerous practice.

Supt Beer said community concerns about an increase in unsupervised kids in the CBD had prompted police to increase their presence and patrols in the city, including ramping up efforts to engage with these children.

“I’m sure all would agree that it’s not always in the best interest to arrest them (children), when there are other options to dealing with them,” he said, referring to issuing cautions, referrals to the Juvenile Justice Team, and taking them home.

He said overall crime in Geraldton over the past 12 months had dropped 10 per cent, including a 25 per cent fall in burglaries and 10 per cent decrease in stealing offences. However, damage offences, which include rock-throwing, were up 8 per cent.

Supt Beer said it was hard for police to confirm if rock-throwing was substantially on the rise, as a lot of cases were not reported.

He urged anyone who fell victim to rock-throwing to report it as soon as possible.

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