Police urge for formal reports
With the increasing popularity of crime reporting pages on social media, local police have urged residents to make official reports to ensure offenders can be identified and charged.
In the Rockingham and Kwinana areas, there are a number of pages and groups on Facebook focused on reporting crime, with a combined following of more than 72,000 people.
However, Rockingham police officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Brett Reyne said police regularly came up against the issue of crimes being reported online but not to them.
He said although police tried to monitor some pages to follow up on alleged crimes that may not have been reported, it could be a difficult task without specific details relating to particular crimes.
“It’s been an issue for us when things have been posted to crime pages, but not actually reported to us,” Sen. Sgt Reyne said. “We’ve also seen reports online that are really vague, so we can’t look into it.”
Kwinana officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Rob Read said officers in the district also faced issues when crimes were reported online but not to police.
“People can get online and criticise police for not taking action, but the reality is that some things haven’t even been reported to us and we are not aware of incidents,” he said.
Casie Smith, an administrator for Mandurah and Rockingham Community Crime Reports for about six years, said the group encouraged anyone making reports to the page to follow up with police to ensure proper procedures were carried out.
“We have multiple reports come in daily from members of the community who nine times out of 10 have already reported the incident to local authorities,” she said.
“If they haven’t we strongly encourage that they do so the perpetrators can be brought to justice over their crimes,” she said.
The page has more than 9000 followers, and Ms Smith believed online crime pages were an imperative part of the community helping play its part alongside police.
Ms Smith said the page had helped identify someone involved in a burglary and locate stolen property, as well as assisting in finding missing persons.
“I’m very proud to say that because of the page, we have got so much information in regards to crimes that we have posted for the victims that we have then forwarded on to police and the people have then been charged,” she said.
Derek Fisher runs the Kwinana News and Crime Facebook page and said all information received through the page was relayed to Kwinana police. “Kwinana has a reasonably high crime rate and with over 11,000 followers we have been able to assist in stopping crime before it occurs, as well as catching offenders who commit crime in Kwinana,” he said.
“Every post or message we receive that involves suspicious or criminal activity are shared with the Kwinana police and the person posting is also reminded of the importance of police knowing about anything they think is suspicious as it all helps in the event of a wanted person,” he said. “We always ensure the person posting the report knows they should contact police and we strongly advise them to take that action.”
Sen. Sgt Reyne said police always encouraged people who had experienced or witnessed any criminal activities to make a formal report to police, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online.
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