Drunk, rude and looking to steal

DRUNK and disorderly, ignoring police directions and on the lookout for the chance to steal - that's the picture painted of the region's less than law-abiding population, the latest crime statistics show.

The just-released Queensland Police Annual Statistical review for the Warwick Police District, which includes Stanthorpe, shows a staggering 119 per cent increase year-on-year in police "move-on" orders, along with a 70 per cent jump in liquor offences.

Public order offences overall are up 14 per cent, but of more concern is the increase in crimes against property, with unlawful entry to premises up 27 per cent and general theft rising 20 per cent.

On the plus side, assaults are down seven per cent, with roughly the same percentage year-on-year of around 85 per cent of those offences being "cleared", or finalised by police.

The latest statistics covered the 2010-2011 financial year and were released for the whole of Queensland this week, with Warwick and Stanthorpe included in the Southern Region, which takes in Ipswich and Toowoomba.

Overall, the Southern Region recorded a mere one per cent drop in total crime rates.

The data relates to "reported" offences, with police in part attributing rises to their efforts to encourage the public to inform them of crime through Crime Stoppers.

Some offences, such as domestic violence and sex crimes traditionally have lower reporting rates.

The local figures for the Warwick District are broken down into the main categories of "offences against the person" and "offences against property", with the former down 12 per cent overall and the latter up 10 per cent.

As well as assaults, offences against the person include homicide, driving causing death, sexual offences, armed robbery and stalking.

Offences against property include breaking and entering of premises, stealing from shops, residences and vehicles without forced entry, arson, wilful damage, fraud and possessing stolen goods.

Police clearance rates for those offences remain below the halfway mark, at 39 per cent in 2010-2011, compared to 42 per cent in 2009-2010.

But big increases have also shown up in the "other offences" category, with drug-related crime jumping 19 per cent.

This category also includes public order or "nuisance" offences such as obstructing police, swearing and behaving aggressively in public, urinating in the street and disrupting the peace, all up a total of 25% on 2009-2010.

Local state MP Lawrence Springborg said while he was confident there were enough police numbers locally, he believed a major reason for the spike in property offences was court leniency towards repeat offenders.

"People who do these sorts of crimes are having their suspended sentences extended again and again - some of them are one-person crime waves and they are able to simply walk back out into the community and do the same thing over and over," he said.

"We need more deterrence from this government - it won't stop all crime but if they're behind bars they can't do it, can they?"

Again on the positive side, those who choose to flout the law could find themselves working off their debt to society with a bit of elbow grease, with another community service program opened last month.

Three spaces at the Warwick Bowls Club have been developed, adding to programs at the Warwick Ambulance Station and St Vincent de Paul, which are currently at capacity.

Two offenders have already been placed in the newest program.

Deputy Commissioner for probation and parole Peter Bottomley said between July and October, 202 hours of community service had been completed in the Warwick area, which the department calculated to be worth $4055 to the community.

A parole and probation reporting office is due to be up and running in Warwick next year but there is still no set date or location for the office.

Although he could not confirm the details, Mr Bottomley said the reporting centre was on schedule to be established next year.

It is hoped the centre will enable greater interaction with local stakeholders and community leaders and would assist in identifying suitable community service projects in the area.


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