Facebook groups solving crime in your neighbourhood

COMMUNITY Facebook groups are solving crimes by sharing CCTV images of burglars in what police have described as a "modern-day neighbourhood watch".

Police say they are still counting the cost of the busiest break-and-enter period of the year as families return home from holidays to discover they've been robbed.

It comes as an examination of 21,000 break-and-enter offences over a 12-year period found more than a quarter of burglars were repeat offenders.

November and December have the highest number of break-ins, with an average of 4.6 per day throughout Queensland, while July and August have the lowest, with 3.5 per day.

District Crime Prevention Co-ordinator Sergeant Chris Hebblethwaite said the best way to avoid falling victim to burglars was to look out for each other. "It's not just about the security of your place - it's about having good contact with your neighbours, having a good community around you," he said.

CCTV Buchan Street, Westcourt: Police believe the person pictured in this image may be able to assist officers with the investigation into a recent burglary that occurred on Friday, January 3, 2020 at approximately 12:10am.
CCTV Buchan Street, Westcourt: Police believe the person pictured in this image may be able to assist officers with the investigation into a recent burglary that occurred on Friday, January 3, 2020 at approximately 12:10am.

"They are your eyes and ears and also potential witnesses if something happens.

"If you have good relationships with your neighbours, not only is that looking after your own personal security, it's also looking after the security of your street."

Facebook community groups have been inundated with posts about prowlers and break-ins in recent weeks, with many sharing CCTV images of suspects in the hope of identifying the perpetrators.

"Have just heard from my sister … she had an intruder on her back patio this morning at 4.20am," one woman wrote in a Wavell Heights community group. "She is calling the police. This is getting ridiculous."

In another post, a resident shared CCTV footage of a youth attempting to break into his home.

"Make sure you keep your place locked at night. This was 1.30am this morning at our front door. The same thing happened Christmas Eve," the resident wrote.

Sgt Hebblethwaite said in many cases, discussions in social media community groups can be very helpful.

 

CCTV Glen Abby Avenue, Peregian Springs Police believe the persons pictured in this image may be able to assist officers with the investigation into a recent Break and enter which occurred on Thursday November 28 2019 at approximately 2:50AM.
CCTV Glen Abby Avenue, Peregian Springs Police believe the persons pictured in this image may be able to assist officers with the investigation into a recent Break and enter which occurred on Thursday November 28 2019 at approximately 2:50AM.

 

"What you are looking at there is the modern version of neighbourhood watch," he said. "It's good information sharing. But I would say, if you do recognise the person in CCTV shared on these pages, don't just comment - contact us and let us know.

"That evidence is no good to us if we are not aware of it. Let us know and we will try and verify your information."

But he warned that the groups could give people a distorted view of how much crime was happening in their neighbourhood.

"It can be a double-edged sword in that often we will see areas where the perception of crime is higher than the reality of crime.

"We'll see one or two break-ins talked about three or four times.

"And that can impact on how people feel about the safety of their neighbourhood."

 

CCTV Tonkin Street, Heatley. Police believe the persons pictured in this image may be able to assist officers with the investigation into a recent Break and enter which occurred on Sunday October 20 2019 at approximately 4:36AM.
CCTV Tonkin Street, Heatley. Police believe the persons pictured in this image may be able to assist officers with the investigation into a recent Break and enter which occurred on Sunday October 20 2019 at approximately 4:36AM.

 

An analysis of 12 years of break and enter offences conducted by the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council found the most break-ins occurred on a Monday.

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays were also popular days for burglars to be on the prowl.

Young offenders - aged 10 to 17 - were responsible for 30 per cent of all burglaries.

Sgt Hebblethwaite said most burglaries were the result of a thief seeing an opportunity.

He said to avoid becoming a victim, people should:

- Avoid leaving keys, wallets and other valuables just inside the front door, particularly where they are visible to someone outside.

- Don't leave gardening tools, such as shovels, in your yard. Thieves can use them as "break and enter tools".

- Think about where you leave your wheelie bins. Thieves can use them to climb on to access doors and windows on upper levels.

- Keep doors and windows well maintained. Sliding doors can be worn down by dirt, leaving thieves able to pop them off their tracks.

- CCTV cameras should be mounted where they are visible from the street.