Force expands in bid to target crime

David SalvaireGeraldton Guardian
Mid West Gascoyne District Supt Mike Bell.
Camera IconMid West Gascoyne District Supt Mike Bell. Credit: David Salvaire

Mid West Gascoyne District Superintendent Mike Bell says he hopes to bring down the crime rate in Geraldton throughout 2017 with the help of an upgraded station and a bolstered detective squad.

Work is due to begin next month on the planned $5 million upgrades to Geraldton Police Station bringing the Mid West headquarters’ facilities into line with other stations across the State.

Geraldton will also receive four new detectives in March, which Dist Supt Bell said would enable the station to conduct proactive investigations to reduce crime.

“We know that there are individuals or groups that are believed to be involved in criminal activity and rather than responding to a known incident, we can start examining them to see what their involvement is and who their networks are,” he said.

“That involves things like drug distributions, organised criminal activities or burglaries.

“We’ll also see more foot patrols and community engagement.”

According to statistics compiled by WA Police, the Geraldton subdistrict had an 11.6 per cent drop in overall crime last financial year, with a further 6 per cent fall since July.

Those figures were against a trend of rising crime figures across the State.

Geraldton police have begun trialling a range of preventative measures like leaving reminder notices on vehicles that are unsecured or that have valuables left in plain sight.

Dist Supt Bell said he was encouraged by the early crime figures and Geraldton police would increase their visible presence around town.

He said while social media could be a positive way for the community to engage with police, he urged the public to be cautious of misinformation.

“I was reading a story online recently that caused me some concern because everyone started berating police and also the community,” he said.

“We had some really negative language on there with people saying they were going to move away because crime was so bad.

“The word of the year from the Oxford Dictionary is ‘post-truth’ and that’s a challenge.

“I’d remind people not to believe everything they read online and we have people putting their views on there which aren’t necessarily correct or accurate.”

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