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Residents urged to lock up as offences surge

Crime Prevention Officier with Central Northern Police District, Senior Constable Kate Miller. Photo Noel Fisher

Bourke residents are being urged to take extra security precautions, as property crime surges in town.

In recent weeks there has been a dramatic, but largely unreported, rise in vehicle damage, break and enter, vandalism, theft, stealing from vehicles and other property crimes.

Police are putting the onus on residents, saying they should take more responsibility with the security of their vehicles, homes, and businesses.

Bourke Mayor, Councillor Barry Hollman is also asking residents to help police as council continues to search for solutions to Bourke’s crime rate

In the space of just a few weeks, there has been a concerning number of thefts from vehicles and break and enter crimes after offenders have smashed in windscreens in some instances or attempted to enter vehicles with the driver still at the wheel.

Over the past week, a service station at the eastern end of town was broken into, a retailer had a vehicle stolen and there have been numerous instances of thefts from properties and vehicles.

In recent days, youths have also broken into buildings on the Bourke TAFE Campus and attempted to break into the Outback Division of General Practice by climbing onto the roof and entering via upstairs windows.

Many of these crimes go unreported as NSW Police have changed their policy of providing crime details directly to local media outlets.

Senior police have told The Western Herald that, where crime information is not automatically provided by police, media outlets must source their own information and request details from the Police media units in Dubbo and Sydney.

Journalists across the western region are now at a disadvantage as police do not provide incident reports of all crimes in each remote town.

As Bourke police scramble to stem the rising number of offences, many businesses and residents say they want tougher action and for government to follow through on promises of changes to bail laws.

Like many other Bourke businesses, the Western Herald and 2WEB offices have had staff members targeted. In the past three weeks, three staff members have had their vehicles damaged by vandals and items stolen, and in one case, the car was considered a write off after doors and windows were smashed by vandals. The owner said the vehicle was locked and parked on Oxley Street less than 100 metres from the police station at the time of the attack.

In another incident, a person was attacked while in his vehicle was in the IGA car park. The offenders followed the vehicle out of the car park before they smashed the windscreen and doors with rocks.

In a further incident, a worker had items from a vehicle parked in Oxley Street, after thieves smashed in the rear window.

Crime Prevention Officer, Senior Constable Kate Miller, said thefts from vehicles and homes were opportunistic crimes and urged drivers and residents to make sure their vehicles and homes were locked, and that all valuables were out of sight.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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