Inspector Virginia Nelson revealed there had been a recent crime spike at The Caves.
Inspector Virginia Nelson revealed there had been a recent crime spike at The Caves. Michelle Gately

The Caves community calls out crime spike

WITH 16 property theft offences recorded in The Caves in the last six months, it's no wonder the locals held a community meeting with Rockhampton police to put a stop to the recent crime spike.

On Thursday night, more than 100 residents and five police officers attended a community meeting at The Caves Hall to make the community alert to the rise in theft and how they can work with police to prevent being future victims.

One of the meeting organisers Rod Wolfenden, who has had thousands of dollars worth of property stolen from his home twice in the last 18 months, said he wanted to bring the community together so local police could see the extent of the crime.

"We had about 120 people turn up and I take that as a reflection of the seriousness of the situation and the amount of people concerned about this issue," he said.

"I've been hit twice over the last 18 months and both times the value has been a couple of thousand dollars of what went missing, the second time it happened was a few months ago. I knew other people had been hit as well I just thought there was too much going on and we needed to do something about it, which was the main purpose of the meeting, to bring it to everyone's attention and work with police to prevent any further theft from happening.

"I think the meeting was very positive and one thing I got out of it is that there needs to be more communication between the victim and the police. We had a few people have stuff stolen but it wasn't reported so that's something we need to work through in order for the police to be aware of the extent of the crime that's happening out here. It's also really important to share information with other neighbours and community members and for that information to be accessible through one medium, say a Facebook page or another central point where all of this information can be collected and shown to the police."

Rod said some of the members in the community have their suspicions on who the offenders are and it's believed there is about four of them.

"I think the police officers who attended now have a better understanding of the extent of the crime going on here and realised how frustrated we are getting," he said.

"It was good to hear the police were getting frustrated with the theft activity too, so I think there was some good interaction between the police and the community."

Inspector of City Patrol Group, Virginia Nelson said police records showed 16 property offences had been reported since June and that there was an obvious spike in the area.

"It is concerning that we've had a property spike and we've invested now some significant resources into The Caves community and will continue to do so," Inspector Nelson said.

"They have a great community network and we'd love to see them build their neighbourhood watch up and share their information with police. We have identified up to 40% of property crime occurs when homes or vehicles are unlocked so we really want to encourage people to secure their property and contact police if they see anything unusual."

Livingstone councillor Glenda Mather said a number of strategies had been spoken about in the meeting to prevent people becoming future targets.

"Communication is the key when it comes to this," she said.

"We need to watch out for our neighbours and report anything that looks out of place because these are brazen thieves who are doing these acts in broad daylight so if we see unusual vehicles in the area or people wandering around people's homes we need to report it and communicate with the owner of the property.

"There were a number of suggestions put up by the people which included installing CCTV outside of homes and starting a Facebook page. But it's not just one thing that will work in this situation, it's a combination of strategies."

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