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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3927 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

fashion-on how operations are conducted. I observed police headquarters in action during counter-terrorist exercises and I was impressed with the level of dedication and professionalism. The police that I have encountered in the streets have been friendly and helpful.

Crime statistics show a number of successes, but they also show a gradual incline in the general level of criminality in the ACT. That trend is consistent with the national trend. We are not immune from the nationwide deterioration in community safety and general standards of behaviour. A significant drop in burglaries occurred over the past few years, which has been consistent with the successful deployment of Operation Halite-a typical police task force deployment. Crime-targeted, task force operations involving the concentration of police resources in response to serious crimes have been successful. The police should be congratulated on those successes. Informed members of the community and members of the police force say that, while that operational concept might suppress one sort of crime, other crimes have been on the increase. Clearly, task force policing must be balanced with and complemented by other policing strategies.

Today I draw to the attention of members the crime statistics to which I have just been referring. The Australian Bureau of Statistics report 4509.0 Crime and Safety, Australia, 20 June 2003 focuses on crime statistics in the ACT. In 2002, 11,818 offences were reported or became known to ACT police during the December quarter. That number of reported offences in the December quarter represents a 16 per cent increase on the figures for the 2001 December quarter.

According to those statistics, the main offences that were reported were theft and related offences, property damage and pollution, burglary and break and enter. The largest increases were reflected in the number of reported acts that were intended to cause injury. The December quarter showed an increase of 67 offences, or a 10 per cent increase, from the previous quarter. Public order offences were up by 65 offences, or 26 per cent, and sexual assault and related offences were up by 51 offences, or 67 per cent.

We also welcome decreases in statistics for some areas of crime. The largest decreases that were recorded relate to theft and related offences-an 11 per cent decrease. Statistics for burglary and break and enter reveal a 12 per cent decrease, no doubt due to Operation Halite.

Overall, there was a 4 per cent increase in the total number of incidents in the ACT-an increase from 17,964 to 18,666. The number of incidents that required patrols also increased by 7 per cent in December 2002.

Personal crime victimisation rates showed a welcome decrease-from 7.7 per cent to 5.9 per cent over four years. However that figure is still too high. Statistics in the ACT for those rates are the second highest when compared to statistics throughout Australia.

Statistics for motor vehicle theft reflected the highest increase in vehicle theft in the country-up 40 per cent. Assault victimisation rates showed a welcome decrease-from 6.9 per cent down to 5.8 per cent, but those statistics are still the second highest in the country.

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