Crime reports `falling away'

PUBLIC perception of a lack of police resources has discouraged people from reporting crime, the police union says.

Police Association of Tasmania president Pat Allen said feedback from members was that reports of stealing from businesses were ``falling away'' because people had to wait too long for attendance, particularly in the North and South.

``Even though the incidents are on the rise throughout the state, reports of property damage and assaults don't get made because the public believe, rightly, that there are just not enough police to attend,'' he said.

``I was having a conversation in relation to this, with a well-known business identity in Hobart, who stated that he had not reported a crime because he didn't believe police would get to it.

``He said he was aware of others who did the same.''

Australian Bureau of Statistics Crime Victimisation Survey 2012-13 data estimates that more crimes go unreported in Tasmania in categories such as assault, theft and property damage. Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Phil Wilkinson said it was important that people reported crime.

``The figures reported on, are based on what is reported to police,'' he said.

``It has always been recognised that there may be an element of people who are reluctant to report matters to police, especially what could be considered as minor matters or incidents.''

Constable Allen said members had told him there were jobs they just couldn't get to and when people have been told to call back or visit the police station to make a report, they don't.

He said a member in Launceston had spoken to an employee of a prominent Brisbane Street retailer, who said that the business had been having trouble getting police to deal with stealing matters.

Constable Allen said the perception was that police were always ``tied up'' on other matters and stealing was not a priority.

``The police association believes members of the public should always report damage and crime, and not be put off by lack of numbers,'' he said.

``Not reporting matters allows Tasmania Police and the government to merrily roll along thinking all is wonderful in paradise.''

Constable Allen urged victims of crime to ensure that they received an ``offence report number'' and to find out what the result of their report was.

Launceston City Council Alderman and  Launceston Safer Communities Partnership chairman Danny Gibson said it was imperative for people to report crime.

He said the information helped police build a bigger picture of areas of concern.

THE STATS ON CRIME IN TASMANIA

Australia Bureau of Statistics Crime Victimisation Survey 2012-13, Tasmanian estimates:

- Physical assaults: 5500 reported, 4400 unreported; 53 per cent reporting rate

- Face-to-face threated assault: 6700 reported; 8200 unreported; 45 per cent reporting rate

- Non face-to-face threatened assault: 2300 reported; 3800 unreported; 38 per cent reporting rate

- House break-ins: 4200 reported; 700 unreported; 84 per cent reporting rate

- Attempted break-ins: 2100 reported; 2100 unreported; 49 per cent reporting rate

- Theft from motor vehicle: 2200 reported; 2500 unreported; 46 per cent reporting rate

- Other theft: 2500 reported; 3800 unreported; 39 per cent reporting rate

- Malicious property damage: 6900 reported; 7200 unreported; 49 per cent reporting rate

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