Gold Coast involved in beat-up of a lifetime, only not on the streets

Despite the most up-to-date figures showing violent crime rates on the Gold Coast remain their lowest in a decade, uncritical reporting of recent individual cases has led to the struggling region being referred to as “Australia’s newest crime capital”.

President of the Queensland Police Union Ian Levers, who has been quoted internationally stating

“Without doubt the Gold Coast has cemented itself as the crime capital of Australia and unless we get a rapid injection of 100 to 150 staff on the Gold Coast we’re in trouble.”

Unfortunately this quote has been attributed more than once to the Queensland police themselves. Fortunately for local residents, there is not one iota of evidence crime has increased as dramatically as claimed by Mr Levers and reported in the media this year.

The only detailed crime figures available are regional crime rates gathered across the 2009/2010 financial year. These figures show while the Gold Coast did have a high rate of robberies compared most of the state, the region suffered from far fewer homicides, assaults, and offences of a sexual nature than the rest of Queensland.

What the data show is per 100,000 people, the actual risk of being murdered was over four times higher is you are in Mount Isa, four times higher in Mareeba, and more than double in Brisbane Central.

During the 2009/2010 financial year, you were six times more likely to fall victim to other forms of homicide in Innisfail or Oxley, four times as likely in Warwick or Caboolture, three times as likely in Maryborough, the Sunshine Coast, Logan and North Brisbane, and twice as likely in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Gympie, Ipswich, Toowoomba, and Brisbane Central than on the Gold Coast.

While there were 424 assaults per 100,000 people on the Gold Coast during this period, that figure pales in comparison to Mount Isa with 2079, Brisbane Central’s 2039, Cairns 1118, Charleville 1089, Townsville 700, Roma 698, Rockhampton 695, Mareeba 656, Gympie 521, Longreach 506, Ipswich 488, Bundaberg 440, Redcliffe 426 and Gladstone with 425 per 100,00 residents.

Residents and visitors to Cairns were over 5 times more likely to be victims of offences of a sexual nature than if they were on the Gold Coast. Of every region  in Queensland, the Gold Coast showed the lowest reported rate of sex offences at 53 per 100,000 residents.

The Gold Coast even had considerably fewer robberies than Brisbane (77 per 100,000 compared to 277 per 100,000) with the official figure showing an 11 percent reduction overall compared to the previous year.

So while the latest numbers from the Australian Institute of Criminology indicate violent crime is lower than ever, figures from the Queensland Police Service themselves show plainly the Gold Coast was far from a haven for criminal behavior, and no further statistics are as yet available, where is the evidence for the claims made in countless news reports world-wide in recent days?

I contacted the Queensland Police Union earlier today and requested the data Mr Levers used in making his ‘crime capital’ claim but have not as yet received a response.

Jayson D Cooke

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