Swan Chamber of Commerce attendees included business owners, community groups and public servants.

Retail theft leads crime rates

The rise in retail theft has increased across the country alongside the cost-of-living crisis.
February 15, 2024
Andrew Williams

THE officer-in-charge of the Midland police district is calling out for further community engagement in the ‘Safer Midland’ initiative as retail theft in the area continues to increase.

Senior Sergeant Mark Marriott addressed business owners, community groups, and public servants during an event facilitated by the Swan Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning, February 14, at the Crooked Spire Cafe.

According to Senior Sergeant Marriott, while most crimes in Midland are trending downwards compared to previous years there has been a significant increase in retail theft which has increased crime reports.

He reflected on how crime has changed in Midland since he first started his career at the station back in the mid 1990s. He said violent crimes and burglary have reduced over that time, while family violence has become the district’s focus.

Unfortunately, due to the increase in retail theft, not just in Midland but across the country too, senior sergeant Marriott said the district needed to reallocate resources to address it.

Crime reports in Midland and Koongamia are up, by a 23 per cent and 60 per cent increase respectively, while South Guildford is down 40 per cent.

“Crime is up in the Midland district, but so is our arrest rate,” senior sergeant Marriott said.

He attributed this increase to the ‘Safer Midland’ initiative working as intended and added that the increase in Midland’s crime reporting is almost all due to retail theft.

“When we look at those numbers, they’ve increased because of what we have done here with the WhatsApp group,” he said.

As previously reported (‘Safer Midland’ initiative helps fight against crime, Echo News September 22, 2023), the initiative began in Centrepoint Shopping Centre and has grown to cover the entire Midland CBD.

Communication between business owners and the police via the ‘Safer Midland’ WhatsApp group chat means police are being notified of crimes in real time and can act faster in apprehending offenders.

The rise in retail theft has increased alongside the cost-of-living crisis, and senior sergeant Marriott urged local businesses to join the almost 100 other members of the initiative.

“To do our job quicker we need help from the community,” he said.

This was echoed by Swan Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Tom Smilovitis who highlighted the role small businesses play in strengthening a community.

Mr Smilovitis also noted the absence of elected officials at the talk despite the importance of curbing not just retail theft, but crime in general.

The president of the chamber Mike Matich added that while he agreed that there could be more people, he thought the diversity of those in attendance showed a great cross section of the community.

To join the ‘Safer Midland’ initiative WhatsApp group contact Tom Smilovitis on 0407 866 555 or email ceo@swanchamber.com.au

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