Milligan stands by claims Gungahlin residents worried about increasing crime

Dominic Giannini 21 November 2019 41
Gungahlin arsonist

Released footage of an arsonist in Gungahlin in October 2019. Photo: ACT Policing.

Having his own car broken into led Liberal Member for Yerrabi, James Milligan, on a personal crusade across the Gungahlin-based electorate to find out how his constituents were experiencing crime in the region.

After being swamped by several hundred responses, Mr Milligan says Gungahlin residents are worried about their personal safety, increasing crime rates and police resources, but the Government and ACT Policing have poured cold water on his assertions.

An ACT Government spokesperson accused Mr Milligan of trying to whip up fear in the community, referring to ACT Policing statistics which show a continual decline in total crime across the area, from 1271 offences in the first quarter this year, to 1161 in the most recent quarter ending in September.

Year-on-year third-quarter figures from July to September have been falling since 2017. During this period last year, there were 1318 total offences across the Gungahlin area, which means the total number of crimes in the same time period has fallen 12 per cent.

However, there has been an increase in total offences committed in the month of October, with data showing a 20 per cent increase, from 335 offences in October 2018 to 402 incidents in October 2019.

Mr Milligan told Region Media that burglary and theft in the Gungahlin area were prominently featured in emails and discussions with constituents after he released a crime survey throughout his electorate after his car was broken into.

While number of burglaries has increased from 21 to 31 between September and October, burglary rates are the same as this time last year and 46 per cent lower than in January.

When it comes to theft (excluding motor vehicles), there was a sharp increase in October, jumping to 118 reported incidences compared to 67 the previous month, and 75 in October 2018. The number of thefts has varied significantly throughout the year, from a high of 141 reported cases in February to a low of 67 in September.

Mr Milligan says these statistics don’t show crime that isn’t reported, which is what he’s hearing about more and more.

“Some state that they haven’t contacted police because the police are not well resourced enough, so they just let it go,” he says. “Some crime may be minor, something small was stolen or a window was broken, so they don’t bother reporting it, they choose not to,” he says.

Despite criticism for being under-resourced, ACT Policing says it operates under a community policing model and deploys resources in a flexible manner, which means officers from anywhere across the Territory are able to be assigned to a job in any district.

Mr Milligan says he has written to the government on numerous occasions, as has Liberal police spokesperson Giulia Jones, about the situation.

While he hasn’t approached local police personally to ask about resources, Mr Milligan says it is the government’s responsibility to have an open dialogue with ACT Policing.

“This isn’t necessarily an election issue. The community needs assistance right now,” he says. “It’s up to the government to act on what’s needed, to talk to police, see where are they stretched, what support they need.

“People can’t afford to wait until the next election, they need action right now.”

But the government has accused the Canberra Liberals of fearmongering.

“We know that Canberrans feel safe. The ACT experiences low crime rates compared to other jurisdictions and overall offence rates have decreased over the last decade. Contrary to Canberra Liberal claims, reported crime in Gungahlin has been dropping as the region continues to grow,” an ACT government spokesperson says.

“Our $33.9 million commitment through the 2019-20 ACT Budget is the single largest investment in ACT Policing this decade. It will help ACT Policing transition towards a more connected community-focused police service with 69 more operational and support staff over the coming years.”

On Tuesday, Ms Jones criticised Chief Minister Andrew Barr for abandoning frontline police.

“The ACT has the lowest number of police per capita and the lowest police funding per capita in Australia,” she says.

“Our police force is getting smaller. There are now 50 fewer cops out on the beat compared to 2010. In that same period, the ACT population has grown by almost 70,000 people.”

But the government says ACT Policing staffing has increased.

“These investments will mean more police officers on Canberra streets. The headcount for ACT Policing staff has increased from 893 to 927 and the number of sworn police officers has increased from 677 to 710 from June 2018 to June 2019,” a government spokesperson says.

“ACT Policing has already implemented a number of new measures, including an improved communication model and mobile platforms to assist in making the dispatch of officers more efficient.

“The Government’s recent investment in the ACT Policing future service model will assist ACT Policing to meet the growing demands of our community.”

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41 Responses to Milligan stands by claims Gungahlin residents worried about increasing crime
Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 1:26 pm 23 Nov 19

Where is Jube Mann’s outrage? [insert recycled comeback about it being Southsiders]

    Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 2:26 pm 23 Nov 19

    Jube Mann Northsiders stocking strong. Good in the trenches 🙄

Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 12:36 pm 23 Nov 19

Police statistics are always capable of being manipulated. What gets listed and reported is a matter of where you set the cutoffs.

This has now turned into political parties throwing rocks at each other, never a good way for the truth to emerge.

If a laptop gets stolen, or a building vandalised, that’s a crime, regardless of whether the quarterly report mentions it or any investigation is done. Polling residents on crime is an excellent way of seeing what is really going on.

Steve Talbot Steve Talbot 7:56 am 23 Nov 19

Banjo Talbot. Time to get out of there?

noid noid 8:59 pm 22 Nov 19

Its not only Gungahlin, Calwell has had a number of shootings over the last few years since the ACT Labor/Green government has been in power. They wont give the police the resources and tools to do the job. My suburb feels less safe now as well. Having had to recruit 60 new officers recently was evidence that the Government had run the police force down. With the increases in all fees and charges. low interest rates and low wage rises the ACT Government has more money than any previous so there is no rational reason to excuse them for this!! Roll on next years election – law and order will be big.

Fortress Epiphany Fortress Epiphany 7:37 pm 22 Nov 19

Lived in Melbourne for 33 years without an issue then came to Canberra and had my car broken into twice in 2 years.

Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 7:20 pm 22 Nov 19

I love living in the Gungahlin area. We have had no crime issues in the ten years we've been here. The worst seems to be an occasional burnout on a nearby road or a trail bike tearing up a nature reserve at 2am. Yet the news is constantly talking about crime in Tuggeranong - shootings, meth, arson, break-ins, bikies...

Yep, I reckon Milligan is doing what Liberals always default to: scaremongering. I'll take life in Gungahlin any day, thanks.

Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 6:36 pm 22 Nov 19

What do you expect Canberra? You cram people in teeny tiny boxes in endless rows of narrow soulless streets that all look the same. Look for the studies and you'll see plenty of stats relating crime to intensive housing developments and lack of natural resources.

    Matt Bailey Matt Bailey 11:53 pm 22 Nov 19

    Angela Hunter are you kidding? Crime is due to people being crammed into “teeny tiny boxes”... Canberra and it’s new suburbs are it intensive housing... you’re on crack if you think so.

    Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 8:06 am 23 Nov 19

    Matt Bailey I didn't say crime was due to intensive housing but it plays a crucial role. Suburbs are mind-numbingly boring places for young people.

Aldith Graves Aldith Graves 4:51 pm 22 Nov 19

The police simply don’t care about crime against individuals or their property. If they can belittle or blame the victim they will & they simply won’t waste THEIR time or resources on forensics.

You are on your own. Even if someone threatens to shoot you if you scream when they break in

Paul Kitson Paul Kitson 4:11 pm 22 Nov 19

Fear mongering won't work, there are always islolated incidents but overall we are pretty OK. I suppose its a case of try and make something of a situation that can be percieved by some to be a problem because you don't have any answers to broader social policy.

Fred Colon Fred Colon 3:48 pm 22 Nov 19

He could just ask the cops. They have those stats ready to hand.

Though it's hard to make political capital that way.

bj_ACT bj_ACT 3:04 pm 22 Nov 19

ACT Government said that the Liberals where whipping up fear a number of years ago about motorcycle gangs in Tuggeranong.

Then within a few months Tuggers residents had a plethora of gang related shootings, fires and violent attacks.

The government tends to cherry pick its data and timelines for crime statistics. Perceptions of safety for residents is an important factor.

Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 2:44 pm 22 Nov 19

Liberals? Fear-mongering? I’m shocked!

Oh that’s right, that’s the only page in the liberal party playbook. The policy section .... ‘intentionally left blank’

Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 1:30 pm 22 Nov 19

“Tough on crime” is the last resort of a Right-wing pollie with nothing else to offer.

Christopher Goyne Christopher Goyne 12:19 pm 22 Nov 19

Maybe barr should live. In Gungahlin. The fact that crime has dropped is irrelevant . Any level of crime is unacceptable and is not fear mongering. The daniels government in victoria is masters at this.

Aldo Milin Aldo Milin 12:13 pm 22 Nov 19

A pollie's car was broken into? What is the world coming to? Facetious remarks aside the apathy displayed by those in the assembly towards cracking down on crime is indicative of their priorities. Where is the high visibility policing? Obviously MIA, bravo!

Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 12:06 pm 22 Nov 19

We're not talking about reality, we're talking perception. The beauty of perception is you can make up anything and don't need to prove it.

It's the gangs it is. Running wild they are.

Randy Goldberg Randy Goldberg 11:46 am 22 Nov 19

The L/NP uses a marketing tactic called "FUD". That stands for "Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt".

You don't, necessarily, say negative thinks just plant doubt, etc.

It worked at the last Fed election when the L/NP told lies about policies that didn't exist.

Watch as we get closer to the ACT election next year.

Steve Herczeg Steve Herczeg 11:38 am 22 Nov 19

It's easy to show a decrease in crime statistics if you never send any patrols out to calls for help. (i.e. never arrest anyone)

On most nights at the Weston skate park, all you can hear are cars doing burnouts and yahoo-ing. The Police never answer calls, and people are too scared to call anyway, cause if the hoons see you on the phone they smash your car.

Corey Karl Corey Karl 11:18 am 22 Nov 19

Surveying the amount of burnt out cars sitting around the place, he may have a point !!

    Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 7:23 pm 22 Nov 19

    In Gungahlin? I haven't seen any.

    Corey Karl Corey Karl 11:31 pm 22 Nov 19

    Stephen Esdaile what.??? From the light rail 😂😜😂

Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 11:12 am 22 Nov 19

Fear mongering is what the Liberals do best. They don't know how to actually govern or do good policy lol

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