Gympie's crime rates per capita are better than the State's, but a criminologist says the figures do not tell the entire story.
Gympie's crime rates per capita are better than the State's, but a criminologist says the figures do not tell the entire story. Warren Lynam

Gympie crime data looks good, but doesn't tell whole story

A LOWER crime rate than the State average might sound like good news for Gympie, but one expert criminologist said the numbers do not tell the whole story.

Queensland Police data reveals the region's crime rate last financial year sat below the state's result per 100,000 people.

The biggest per capita gap was for "other” offences like drugs, liquor and traffic crimes.

Here the rate of 8144 offences per 100,000 people was more than 20 per cent lower than Queensland's, which was 10,306.

The rate for offences against property was 3407 (compared with the State's 5060).

Police have been fining Stanthorpe residents who leave their vehicles unlocked.
Police have been fining Stanthorpe residents who leave their vehicles unlocked. Sharyn O'Neill

Crimes against the person were committed at a rate of 647 per 10,000 people, lower than the State's 730 rate.

However, the rate of property offences like unlawful entry, fraud and handling stolen goods have increased from about 200 to about 340.

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The figures might look good but Griffith University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Associate Professor Michael Townsley cautioned against using them to paint a definitive picture of crime in Gympie.

He said regional population areas were small enough for tiny changes to show up as big shifts.

"What criminologists like to do is look at the amount of opportunities to commit crime. That's a very interesting thing to capture. No-one does it consistently anywhere in the world,” he said.

handcuffs, arrest, generic, police, arrested
handcuffs, arrest, generic, police, arrested MaxPixel

He said the increase in property crime was "interesting”, as the long-term crime trends showed "all the major classes of crime are down”.

But the increase is as likely to be explained by more crimes reported than an actual increase in offences.

Areas with a focus on tourism were also likely to experience higher per capita crime rates, where more crimes are likely to happen despite the residential population remaining the same.

He pointed to Fortitude Valley as an example; its population of 5000 often explodes to 40,000 thanks to its nightlife.

Gympie Times


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