“Crime is out of control on the Gold Coast.”
There certainly has been a lot of reporting about crime on the Gold Coast, but the statistics we compile each year for the Annual Statistical Review show a definite downward trend in most types of crime on the Gold Coast.
The rate (per 100,000 people) of offences against the person dropped by nearly one third from 2001 to 2011, while the rate of offences against property fell by 44 percent in that time.
Overall, the rate of crime on the Gold Coast has fallen by 32 percent in the time from 2001 to 2011.
We can always do better, and we are working hard to further reduce crime rates, but the reality is you are nearly one-third less likely to be the victim of a crime than you were in 2001.
“Armed robberies are increasing.”
Actually, this isn’t correct. Last financial year, there were 118 armed robberies in the Gold Coast police district. Since 1996/97, there have been seven years with more armed robberies than last year. In 2001/02, there were 151 armed robberies, and we only have to look back to 2008/09 to see there were 146 armed robberies.
While we are talking about armed robbery, the majority are not committed using firearms. Knives are always used more often than firearms, but offenders also use screw drivers, syringes, lumps of wood, and even rocks to commit armed robberies.
It is reported that generally, about one third of armed robberies involve firearms or replica firearms.
“Guns are prevalent on the Gold Coast.”
Seems that way, doesn’t it? But again, statistics show that in 2000/01, 1,236 people were charged with weapon possession, compared to 605 people in 2010/11.
The percentage of armed robberies reportedly involving firearms has remained pretty steady in the past 16 years, usually with between a quarter and a third of armed robberies involving a firearm.
We would love to have no illegal firearms on the street, however apart from a small number of very high profile cases, illegal firearms do not appear to be an increasing problem in the Gold Coast police district.
“Bikies are taking over the Gold Coast.”
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCG) have members and clubhouses throughout the state. The Gold Coast has no particular monopoly on them.
It is a mistake to underestimate their criminality, or to believe the PR spin that they are simply motorcycle enthusiasts who are unfairly targeted by police.
But we have no evidence to support claims that there is any looming ‘bikie war’.
We are well aware of the activities of these groups and their individual members, and do everything in our powers to ensure criminality is curbed, and offenders brought to justice.
This means using all the legislation available to us to makes things as difficult as possible for these groups to do the wrong thing. We liaise closely with law enforcement agencies throughout Australia and internationally to combat OMCGs.
Every interaction our officers have with these groups provides us with more intelligence on their operations. That is why you will see us closely monitoring and policing “poker runs” and other organised events.
“The Gold Coast doesn’t have enough police.”
There isn’t a community in Queensland which wouldn’t like more police, however with finite resources, the Commissioner has to allocate officers according to need.
It isn’t as simple as looking at police to population ratio – some of the districts with the lowest police to population ratio also have the lowest crime rates.
For the past 10 years, the South Eastern Region, including the Gold Coast, has received the lion’s share of police growth.
Rapid population growth throughout Queensland means that the service has many conflicting priorities in deciding where best to place police resources.
It is also worth noting that being so close to Brisbane, the Gold Coast also benefits heavily from statewide resources, such as Taskforce Hydra, which targets OMCGs and the Armed Robbery Unit.
Superintendent Paul Ziebarth
Gold Coast Police District