Northam cops to ramp up theft focus

Focused approach: Northam police are out in full force over the month of October, cracking down on retail and vehicle theft within the town. Photo: Eliza Wynn.
Focused approach: Northam police are out in full force over the month of October, cracking down on retail and vehicle theft within the town. Photo: Eliza Wynn.

Police officers around the Wheatbelt region are cracking down on theft, with Operation Canvas rolling out for the month of October.

The operation, mainly focused in Northam but part of a statewide strategy, is focusing on retail stealing and motor vehicle thefts.

Northam Police Station officer in charge Senior Sergeant David Hornsby said a week into the targeted action, officers were already seeing results.

"The situation we have in Northam is our crime rate has reduced but big chunks of that is stealing," he said.

"Within two days of the operation beginning, we had the theft of some jewelry at one of our local retailers.

"Within a few minutes our guys had the offender caught and the jewelry recovered.

"The bottom line is stealing is a crime and it will be investigated."

Senior Sergeant Hornsby said residents would notice an increased police presence as part of the crime focus.

The local top cop said stealing items from cars was an ongoing issue in Northam.

"These thieves are really opportunistic and what we are really asking people to do is when you park your car, lock it and make sure you aren't keeping valuables in it," he said.

"If there is stuff in there that you can't easily move, move it before you leave home - don't do it while people can see it.

"On top of having items stolen, you have the inconvenience of damage to your car."

For the 2018/19 financial year, the Northam Police Station recorded its lowest number of incidents since the 2010/11 financial year.

There were 1288 reports of crime, with stealing topping the list.

Senior Sergeant Hornsby said there were steps business owners could take to address stealing taking place in their stores.

"We are quite happy to meet with business owners to give them some information and advice on a better set-up for the store, making it more difficult for people to steal things," he said.

"Unfortunately there are people out there who, come hell or high water, will do what they want but if we can make it as difficult for them as possible, that's what needs to happen.

"We encourage business owners who want to get on board with barring continual offenders from their shops to get in contact with us.

"The idea is that the businesses aren't the ones giving the ban notice - we will do it on their behalf.

"Why put up with it for the heartache and financial loss?"

Anyone who sees a stealing offence or someone acting in a suspicious manner is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to make a report online at www.crimestopperswa.com.au.