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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 722 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

It is International Women's Day tomorrow. I note our successful motion yesterday. I can recall a very brave lady in my electorate who, confronted by some offenders in her house, chased them out with a cricket bat. People should not have to do that. Women are often victims of crime. They are some of the most vulnerable victims of crime. Anything that can be done to reduce crime obviously assists the more vulnerable in our community, specifically women. That is important, given that we have been debating women's issues this week.

I note with some joy that the December 2001 figure for burglary of dwellings dropped to 781. That is the lowest figure since September 1997. Page 29 of the report shows that, in December 1999, 1,698 dwellings were burgled. In December 2000 the number dropped to 1,356. Police will tell you that there is more crime of this sort in the more clement weather during the December quarter than in the inclement weather during winter months.

For the first time we have seen a decrease from the September quarter to the December quarter. For example, in September 1999 there were 1,387 burglaries of dwellings, going up to 1,698 in December. From September 2001 to December 2001 they went down from 855 to 781.

It was mentioned yesterday that a number of factors might have led to a reduction in some crimes. I will go through the very pleasing figures for December 2001. There are some obvious explanations for them.

In the December quarter of 2000 there were 1,356 burglaries of dwellings. In March the number went down a bit, to 1,265. Operation Anchorage started in about February, so maybe there was a little bit of a kick-in there. Certainly there was a kick-in from Anchorage by the June 2001 quarter, when the number went down to 1,081. As I said yesterday, the new Bail Act came into force in May 2001. The result is reflected in the September 2001 figure, which went down to 855, and further reflected in the December 2001 figure of 781.

In the debate yesterday someone mentioned that there was a heroin drought. There was at some stage, but there were also reports from police that a lot of people who had been on heroin changed to other drugs just as expensive as heroin and they needed money to maintain their addiction.

The figures are starting to show irrefutable proof that the improvements to the Bail Act are a major cause, if not the major cause, of a very significant reduction in certain crimes. If the new government is going to review this act down the track, it needs to bear that in mind.

Having been in this Assembly for all but about 21/2 years, I cannot think of any other legislative measure taken by this Assembly that has contributed to such a significant reduction in certain crimes, although not all crimes. We had that debate yesterday so I will not canvass it again. Burglary is of concern to most members of our community, because everyone is either a victim or a potential victim of burglary.

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