It’s the most wonderful time of the year….. for burglaries

Keep your home safe these holidays

Break and enter for homes have risen by around 10% in the past two years from July 2021 to June 2023*.  With homes full of Christmas presents and the chance homeowners will be holidaying away, this time of year is attractive for burglars and the reason why break and enter crimes increase.

Keeping your family and your home safe is as important as ever.

Crime Stoppers is providing the community with a caution for this time of the year and putting burglars on notice.

NSW Crime Stoppers CEO, Peter Price AM, said, “We want everyone to enjoy their well-earned downtime without the worry of whether their home or family will be safe” added Mr. Price

Targeting break and enter crimes, Crime Stoppers is working with Nextdoor to provide communities with information on how they can protect their home and family from opportunistic thieves.  They are also encouraging the community to share information with each other about crimes in the area and what to look out for and reporting anything suspicious to Crime Stoppers or Police.

“Our collaboration with Nextdoor has been hugely successful to date in helping to spread awareness, education, prevention and encourage reporting of crime.  Using this same platform for a dedicated campaign to help the community keep their homes and families safe these holidays will prove valuable to everyone and take community safety to the next level.”

Nextdoor, the world’s largest neighbourhood network is providing a free, online platform to connect neighbours to trusted people, business and public services based on location. It is an ideal way to find a lost pet, share a recommendation for a local business or hire, buy and swap goods. Crime Stoppers has been collaborating with Nextdoor for several years with the sole aim of making the NSW community safer.

The Nextdoor built-in community is already using this platform to help warn neighbours of suspicious behaviour and crime.  Crime Stoppers and Nextdoor want to see this ramped up to help prevent further crime.

Emma from Clovelly posted a video of an attempted break in of her home to warn off others.  The post featured a video showing the face of the thief and said, “Attempted break in last night.  There was an attempted break in on Battery Street last night at 3.15am.  and some reported criminal activity in the area.  Two guys in dark hoodies, hood up and working gloves so no prints tried to break into our front door and storage area.  Spent a reasonable amount of time trying the lock.  We got them on camera and it has gone to the police. Please make sure you double lock door and windows especially in this hot weather.  Looks like they were just trying on the off change the door was open.  Pretty scary!”

Selena from Balgowlah also posted to warn neighbours, “Please be extra vigilant re your cars, my husband’s car was stolen from outside our garage on Woodland St in the early hours of Friday morning and they came back last night and stole min.  Locked and they managed to take it without setting off the alarms”.

Information is available on the Crime Stoppers website but will also be shared on Nextdoor and across social media channels. Here are some ways you can keep your home and family safe.

Secure your home

  • Burglars go for the easy targets – an unlocked window or door, poor lighting so they can hide from view and the absence of security. By ensuring your home is fitted with quality security doors and windows, good lighting, alarms and security cameras you are making your home less appealing for opportunistic criminals.

Check your home

  • Ensure your street number is visible.
  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed to improve visibility around your home.
  • Pack away ladders and gardening tools.
  • Don’t leave valuables in clear view.
  • Never leave spare keys outside your home.

When you are away from home

  • Use a timer to activate an internal light or radio to give the impression someone is home.
  • Have a family member, trusted neighbour or friend check your home. Let them know of your travel plans and ask if they can collect your mail, put out your bins and even park their car in your driveway sometimes.
  • As tempting as it is to tell everyone your travel plans, we recommend you don’t promote your plans on social media. It’s too easy for criminals to put information together to find out where you live and when you will be away.
  • If you have older children at home during the holidays while you are at work make sure they lock up properly when they leave and check for anything suspicious when they return. If they suspect their home has been broken into, advise them to go to a trusted neighbour and call the Police. The safety of a life is far more valuable than material possessions.  Keeping your loved ones safe is the highest priority.

Reduce your curb appeal!

  • With packaging at an all-time high after Christmas Day, there is nothing more appealing to a criminal than seeing the new smart TV carton sitting proudly on your front lawn for collection. Chop up your cardboard cartons and put them inside your recycling bin.

Two-way communication between Crime Stoppers and the community has historically played a significant role in making those communities safer.

“We fully understand the value the community plays in helping to prevent and solve crime.  Encouraging the Nextdoor community to share information in their immediate neighbourhoods may just stop another crime from occurring.  Reporting to Crime Stoppers will help solve a crime which has occurred.  We want to encourage the community to share anything they know, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Every piece of information helps”, said Mr Price.

However, neighbours can also help share local crime and safety updates so that their fellow residents can make informed decisions to keep their families and property safe.

By partnering in this pilot with Nextdoor, Crime Stoppers joins thousands of Police/Community Policing organisations globally which use Nextdoor to distribute relevant crime and safety updates, information about community events, and tips for staying safe in your community.

Jennie Sager, Managing Director of Nextdoor Australia said, “Nextdoor is truly your hyper local network. When you post on Nextdoor you’re sending a message to the neighbours in your very community, not to other parts of the country or globe, which makes it a great way to stay informed of what’s happening nearby.”

“Every day neighbours on Nextdoor just like Emma and Selena make their neighbourhood safer by warning others to stay vigilant. That’s why this partnership with NSW Crime Stoppers is so important. We know the value of real time messaging when it comes to combating crime and with Nextdoor and Crime Stoppers NSW that alert is instant.”

Crime Stoppers will be distributing valuable messages for NSW residents through Nextdoor and its social media networks.  Nextdoor allows Crime Stoppers to communicate at a neighbourhood level with residents across NSW.

Source*

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research – NSW Recorded Crime Statistics July 2018-June 2023. https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_crime_stats/bocsar_crime_stats.aspx

Keeping kids safe online during school holiday time

**Editor’s Note: For further information please contact Crime Stoppers Media Officer, Cecelia Haddad, [email protected] or phone 0487 333 000**

Crime Stoppers, NSW Police Force, eSafety Commissioner and the Australian Federal Police-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation are joining forces this holiday season to raise awareness of the safety risks facing young people online.

The biggest school holiday time of the year is almost upon us and is an opportunity for kids to relax after the school year.  Unfortunately, it’s also an opportunity for sexual predators who know children will be spending more time online, potentially unsupervised.

Predators are increasingly gaining access to children online through popular apps, games, and social media sites to solicit sexual images or video, or harm them physically.

Crime Stoppers CEO, Mr Peter Price AM said, “The campaign will focus on the online space in two key areas.  Firstly, prepare parents and help them better manage their children’s online presence and safety. Secondly to educate teens around sextortion – how to avoid it and what to do if they fall victim to a predator. Crime Stoppers’ mandate is to help:  to stop, solve and prevent crime.”

“Today we are imploring parents to be even more attentive.  Protecting our most vulnerable is a priority. Young or old.  Just like criminals collaborate for the NO GOOD, what you see here is a collaboration for the PUBLIC GOOD”, added Mr Price.

According to the Mind the Gap Research* undertaken by eSafety, there are significant gaps in parents’ awareness.  The research showed 55% of children communicated with someone they first met online yet only 34% of parents were aware.  In the 14-17 year age group 62% were exposed to negative online content yet only 43% of their parents were aware.  This content included gory or violent material, drug taking, hate messages, self-harm, ways to take their own life and violent sexual images or videos with 11% of 14-17 years olds being asked by someone online to send sexual images of themselves.

Information to help parents and teens is readily available but many don’t know where to go to get help. The campaign will assist parents and teens on where to go to find out how they can minimise their risk and what to do if inappropriate online contact, sexual abuse material or sextortion occurs.

The internet can create a range of safety challenges for children online.  Our message to parents is not everyone your child meets online is who they say they are.  As a parent there are signs you can watch for like your child becomes vague or secretive about what they’re doing online, they become quieter or more withdrawn, they avoid their phone or other devices and seem anxious when near them.

Communication and education are so important when it comes to online predators. From an early age you can let your child know if anyone asks for a photo of them without clothes on, they should tell you straight away so you can help them.

“Just as we put helmets on our kids to ride a bike, we need to keep them safe when they go online – whether they’re watching videos, gaming, or on social networking apps. This is especially true with virtual reality headsets and connected toys – which is why we have released an updated Tech Gift Guide this holiday season,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.

“The best way to prevent your child from being groomed is to be a regular, active participant in their online and offline lives. Set family rules together, including which devices and apps can be used, when and for how long.

“Ensure devices are used in open areas of the home, rather than in the bathroom or bedroom, so you’re generally aware of what they’re doing online. Most importantly, co-play and co-view, particularly through interactive online games with strangers.

“The vast majority of covert online grooming and sexual extortion our investigators see is happening behind closed doors, in what might be considered the ‘safety and sanctity’ of one’s home.”

Some of the red flags include suspicious accounts, asking personal questions, inconsistencies in the profile or language used and starting sexualised chat. Online safety is just another skill kids can learn and really need help from their parents to do it.

ACCCE and Human Exploitation Commander Helen Schneider said the holiday season was often very busy for parents and carers, and it was important to continue online safety conversations.

“With around 300 reports involving young people under 18 being received by the ACCCE each month, financial sextortion continues to be a significant safety threat for young people online, Commander Schneider said.

“This initiative is about equipping parents and carers with the tools, resources and support so they are empowered to have these important discussions to help keep their children safer online.”

Commander of the NSWPF State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said parents can’t afford to ignore protecting their kids online.

“The internet is a place where children can learn, socialise and play – and something that is always going to be a part of their lives – which is why parents can’t turn away from it. The best protection for your child is you as the parent,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“My advice to all parents is make sure you are educated and well-armed with resources available at places such as ‘ThinkUKnow’. I also recommend having regular open and honest conversations with your child about what they’re up to online. The best thing you can do is ensure they feel safe coming to you if they have questions or concerns about people they are engaging with.

“Sex Crimes Squad investigators spend every day online uncovering offenders who use the internet to groom children, and while we will not rest in the pursuit of any alleged sex offenders, we can’t fight this problem alone and need the help of parents.

“Together we can make sure our children are educated and protected against online threats, so they can safely use the internet for all the positive and meaningful things it affords our children.”

In cases of sextortion, young people may be worried they will get into trouble and therefore won’t tell anyone what is happening.  Police are here to protect children from online sexual exploitation.  You will not be in trouble from the police and they will not blame or criticise you for being a victim.  Your report could also save further victims from harm.

Understanding the tactics these predators use is the first step in protecting yourself.  We ask teens to please seek help as soon as possible and know that with help, they can make it stop.  If you are under 18 and being blackmailed online the best way to get help is to report it to the ACCCE who have a range of specialised resources available to specifically investigate this type of offending.  The sooner it is reported, the sooner we can help.

The number one step for parents and carers is to provide a safe space for their child or teen, so they know they will not be in trouble for seeking help.

In sextortion cases, the high-pressure tactics used by criminals rely on parents and carers reacting with anger or shame to what has happened. This can be a barrier to young people seeking help so it’s important to make sure your child knows they can come to you, and they will be supported, no matter what.

If it does happen there are three key steps:

  1. Collect Evidence – screenshots or photos of the conversation. Record social media details such as profiles, usernames and URLs.
  2. Block – block the user and consider changing your information including your password.
  3. Report – report it as soon as possible to ACCCE.

No information is too small or insignificant.  Something that may appear that way could be vital to a police investigation.

If you’re 18 or older and being blackmailed, report it to any platforms or services where the blackmailer contacted you. If your intimate image or video is shared you can report to eSafety to have it removed.  eSafety has tips to help you deal with sexual extortion.

Everyone has a role to play in combatting predatory behaviour online.  We are asking the community to be vigilant online. If you see or suspect something related to online child sexual abuse it should be reported immediately so action can be taken.

Helpful Links:

Prevention Advice

ThinkUknow

eSafety

Crime Stoppers NSW – Keeping kids safe online – for tips and how to report find out more HERE

Where to report online child sexual exploitation

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

*Source: eSafety Commissioner – Online survey of 3,590 children in Australia aged 8–17 and their parents, conducted July–September 2021. Data relates to the 12 months to July–September 2021.

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Media Information, interview and queries can be directed to Crime Stoppers Media Officer, Cecelia Haddad, [email protected] or phone 0487 333 000

Media information and visuals can be downloaded from Google Drive HERE

About the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) has primary responsibility for investigating and preventing online sexual exploitation of children and young people, including sexual extortion.

The ACCCE brings together a world-leading approach, incorporating key stakeholders and partners, and driving a collective effort to counter the epidemic of child exploitation.

About the eSafety Commissioner

The eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) is Australia’s independent regulator for online safety. It educates Australians about online safety risks and helps to remove harmful content such as cyberbullying of children and young people, adult cyber abuse, revenge porn or image-based abuse and illegal and restricted content. Visit eSafety.gov.au to find out more on how to stay safe online and report online abuse.

Working together to reduce crime in retail

***PLEASE NOTE: Media inquiries and requests for interviews can be directed to Media Officer, Crime Stoppers NSW, Cecelia Haddad on phone: 0487 333 000 or email: [email protected] ***

“Retail crime affects everyone”.

Retail crime continues to rise.  Theft in retail has increased substantially in the past year, and this is coupled with aggression and violence in retail environments which has amplified in recent times. Retail workers are being abused, threatened, and attacked which puts nearby shoppers at risk.

Retail Crime is punishable.  Verbal abuse is a crime. Physical abuse is a crime. Shoplifting is a crime.

Crime Stoppers (NSW) is working with NSW Police and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) to combat retail crime and create a safer shopping environment for both people working in retail and the wider community.

“We are coming up to the busiest time of the year for retail. Everyone has the right to feel safe whether you are a customer or a worker.  We are hoping this campaign will have a positive impact during this critical Christmas trading period”, said CEO, NSW Crime Stoppers, Mr Peter Price AM.

“This is a NSW pilot programme with the ARA and if the results are encouraging, we will look to extend this nationally.”

“Shoplifting for many of our young people is an entry level crime.  As of December 2022, theft accounted for the most common offence by young people and almost double break and enter crimes*.  Young people aged 14-17 years had to the highest rate of prosecutions for retail theft**.  If we can deter this from happening, our youth may find themselves on a better life path,” said Mr Price.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said he wants everyone to have the best Christmas shopping experience this year and that can only happen if everyone is safe and respectful towards others.

“All retail workers have a right to feel safe at work.  It’s not the norm to be yelled at – or spat at – for doing your job. It’s certainly not the norm to be punched or groped or assaulted or intimidated with a weapon while at work,” Mr Zahra said.

This issue is not confined to major retail chains alone, as even small family businesses are feeling the brunt of shoplifting. These small businesses rely on every sale to keep their lights on and to continue employing staff, especially in regional areas.”

The campaign messaging is directed to everyone affected by retail crimes – shoppers, victims, offenders, and the wider community with awareness around prevention and reporting.  We know there are good citizens who want to help, but we don’t want them putting themselves in harm’s way.

In a recent survey* conducted by the Australian Retailers Association, more than 92% of members have experienced or have had a team member experience verbal or physical assault whilst at work, over 60% of which are from small to medium businesses. Much of this aggression is experienced when a worker approaches someone caught doing something wrong, like shoplifting.

Here are some tips for everyone to have a safer experience:

  • If you are a bystander and see someone being threatened or abused call Triple Zero immediately. Find a security guard and advise them of the danger.
  • Do not step in and try to assist, you may be putting yourself at risk. Your best tool for assistance, is your phone.
  • People who shoplift can appear as nervous or jumpy. They may be looking around for surveillance cameras and sometimes work in group to try to distract staff.  If you suspect someone is shoplifting, find a security guard or staff member and alert them. Take note of what they look like, are wearing, time, date, and location.  This can help with reporting to catch the offender.

Mr. Price added, “our message to offenders is, if you steal, you will be caught.  If you abuse someone you will be reported.  Any retail crime will result in arrest and likely prosecution”.

The campaign will be rolled out in media, social media and through retail point of sale.

“Nothing will ever outweigh the value of the health and wellbeing of workers and shoppers.  With a combined effort from retailers, retail workers, shoppers and the community working together, we can all enjoy a safer and happier shopping experience these holidays”, added Mr Price.

How to Report Crime

  • You can help by reporting anything suspicious, strange, or concerning. To Crime Stoppers.
  • Any piece of information, anything you have seen or heard, may be crucial in preventing or solving a crime.
  • Search: Crime Stoppers (click https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ or call 1800 333 000)
  • For a crime in progress call Triple Zero (000).

Other Statistics***

  • Retail theft has been steadily increasing year up 47.5% year on year to June 2023.
  • In the last two years to June 2023, recorded incidents of retail theft recovered faster than any other property crime, increasing 48% from 2021/22 to 2022/23.
  • The most frequently reported stolen items being alcohol (37% of incidents) followed by clothing (22% of incidents)
  • $440 is the average value of items stolen.

Source:

*Australian Retailers Association Member Survey, August 2023

**Young People Offences BOSCAR – https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_pages/Young-people.aspx

*** Retail Theft BOSCAR – https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_publication/Pub_Summary/BB/BB168-Summary-retail-theft.aspx

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WITH YOUR HELP, A SAFER COMMUNITY

One in 10 people have been a victim of illicit drug-related incidents.

The wider community has been affected through significant health and social costs.

The drug trade is estimated to be worth more than $10 BILLION per year, profits of which are often used to fund other illegal activity including human trafficking.  Much of the violence in our neighbourhoods can be linked to drug trafficking.

With drugs remaining the number one crime concern for all Australians*, Crime Stoppers has launched a new campaign with family and community safety the top priority, The National Illicit Drug Campaign.

This initiative aims to disrupt the drug trade to make our families and communities safer.

Crime Stoppers understand people who are a part of the drug trade or know someone who is.

They are worried for their own safety or the safety of their family and want to report what they know.  This is where Crime Stoppers can assist.

Mr. Peter Price AM CEO, NSW Crime Stoppers, said “the Crime Stoppers contact centre operates 24/7, 365 days a year centrally located in regional NSW (not at your local police station).

“If you suspect someone or know something, share it with Crime Stoppers before it’s too late. It’s what you know that’s important, not who you are^” Mr Price added.

There are many reasons why someone might report crime and one of the main reasons is the safety of a friend, family member or someone they know.  Others report crime because they suspect or know someone is drug trafficking, their partner wants out but is fearful of harm or retaliation or there are facilitators of offences who want to exit the criminal life with assistance from police.

Crime Stoppers has shared some key things to look out for that may indicate illegal activity.  It could be:

  • Unexplained wealth – particularly high-end purchases such as cars, motorcycles, property, or jewellery).
  • Visible tattoos depicting OMCG symbolism or an overt display of gang logo/patches on a person or their clothing or a flag or sticker at their home.
  • Strange timing of movements.
  • Favours – an employee is asked by another employee to access sensitive information and in return they are offered favour, influence, friendship, cash or status.

Crime Stoppers will be running events over the coming months to talk to the community about safety.

You can help by reporting anything suspicious, strange, or concerning.  Any piece of information, anything you have seen or heard, may be crucial in preventing or solving a crime.

Click or call Crime Stoppers: on 1800 333 000/ nsw.crimestoppers.com.au

For a crime in progress call Triple Zero (000). Save Triple Zero for Emergencies (000)

Your family.  Your community. Your call.  It does make a difference. 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

PLEASE NOTE:  For media information, interviews, or visuals, please contact NSW Crime Stoppers Media Advisor, Cecelia Haddad, on 0487 333 000 or via email at [email protected]

Sources

^ refer (see www.nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/disclosure/)

Community collaboration to reduce crimes against farmers in rural NSW

“Reporting is essential to preventing and solving crime”

Crime Stoppers NSW and the NSW Police Force, Rural Crime Prevention Team are at AgQuip, Gunnedah today to announce a state-wide crime campaign calling for the community to ramp up rural crime reporting with the aim of solving and preventing further crime.

Crime in rural NSW continues to remain high with 81%* of farmers experiencing crimes such as stock and fuel theft, trespassing and illegal hunting. The impact of crimes is exceptionally high causing financial, physical, and psychological devastation to farmers and has a flow on effect to the wider Australian economy.

However, the reporting of these crimes continues to be extremely low, and without these reports, crimes cannot be solved, and criminals remain free to continue to cause further havoc for our farmers.

A Rural Crime Advisory Group was established to enable community consultation to develop messaging and initiatives to help increase crime reporting and reduce crime.

Initiated by Crime Stoppers, the advisory group also includes the Rural Crime Prevention Team, Centre for Rural Criminology UNE, NSW Farmers Association, Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association, Livestock & Transporters Association, Livestock, Bulk & Rural Carriers Association, and the County Women’s Association.

This collaboration is working to ensure awareness and messaging on rural crime will reach the rural community in many different ways with the aim to increase victim reports to the Police Assistance Line (PAL) and increase reports on criminal activity to Crime Stoppers in order that strategies can be developed to prevent further crime. We need to be better informed; we can’t do that without the public reporting crime.

We know there are several barriers to reporting crime – confidence in what can be done; retrieval of stolen items; feeling personally responsible for the theft with costs and difficulty in implementing prevention measures and concern around retaliation as it may be someone, they know given their smaller communities.

A new campaign has been developed to address these barriers and work together for a better outcome for our farmers demonstrating the many different ways the community can report crime in their area including PAL, their local police station, Crime Stoppers and Triple Zero for emergencies. The campaign centres on the tagline – Be a pal and report any theft, any time, to PAL on 131 444 – and – Report suspicious or actual criminal information to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

CEO of Crime Stoppers NSW, Mr Peter Price said we can’t build community resilience and infrastructure if we are in the dark about farm crime.

“Being a victim of crime and reporting the crime, matters. If police don’t know about the crime, they can’t do anything. The more information reported, the better equipped the police are to act to prevent or solve a crime”, said Mr Price.

“If we all work together, the result will be a better, more prosperous future, and safer and healthier communities.

Under reporting of rural crime is always a significant barrier to targeting offenders. During 2021 and 2022 police recorded a decrease in the number of stock theft, malicious damage, and trespass offences on rural properties within NSW. However, during this period, police recorded a 96% increase in the number of reported fuel theft incidents.

Rural industries have told police that fuel theft was a major issue, however previously the incidents were not being reported to police. With the increased reporting of this crime, it will provide police with information to develop strategies to target specific locations and identify suspects.

The State Rural Crime Coordinator of the NSWPF Rural Crime Prevention Team, Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Whiteside said under reporting of rural crime continues to be a major problem in helping police prevent and solve crime.

“We need a whole of community approach to reduce and solve crime in regional areas and there are some measures that individuals can do to help prevent crime from happening to them,” said Det/Ch Insp Whiteside.

Farmers are urged to accurately record livestock identification, remove keys from machinery, keep photos of valuable stock to assist with identifying them and install quality locking devices on your gates, sheds, and equipment.

“If you see or hear of anything you believed to be suspicious such as a vehicle in an area it’s not meant to be, or stock being moved late at night; we urge you to call Crime Stoppers or your local police.”

The NSW Police Force Firearms Registry will have a presence at various agricultural events across the state to encourage community engagement.  They will be providing firearms safe storage guidance to rural firearms licence holders, as there is a direct correlation between improved safe storage of firearms and a reduction in firearms theft in rural areas.

The Firearms Registry is currently undertaking a campaign on Firearms Future Plans, asking licensed firearms owners to think ahead and include firearms in their estate plans. When firearms are not considered in estate planning, they are vulnerable to becoming lost or stolen.

All firearms owners should register their guns using the Gun Safe Customer Portal. With the recent digitisation of firearms licence expiry reminders notices, firearm registration certificates and permits to acquire firearms, this information is readily accessible electronically, reducing the risk of mail and paper-based firearms records becoming lost or targeted for the purpose of firearms theft with an overarching aim of improving community safety.

To assist the community further, Crime Stoppers and the Rural Crime Prevention Team have produced a range of free collateral to assist farmers, from pocket notebooks to record what they see to gate signs for property protection with details on where and how to report crime.  In addition, the Rural Crime Prevention Team and Crime Stoppers will have a presence at various agricultural events across the state to encourage community engagement.

The Advisory Group partners, along with the NSW Australian Hoteliers Association will all be helping to spread the message with their networks, ensuring a wider reach to the NSW community.

Liquor and Policing, Australian Hoteliers Association of NSW, Mr John Green said in regional NSW, pubs are very much community hubs so we are pleased to be able to help in getting the message out to patrons of the importance of reporting rural crime.

Fact sheets with prevention measures for farmers can be found on the NSW Crime Stoppers website at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/be-safe/.

Crime in regional areas is not new, however it continues to be a growing area of concern for the whole of NSW, not just the farming community and therefore it needs a whole of community approach.

  • You can help by reporting anything suspicious, strange, or concerning.
  • Any piece of information, anything you have seen or heard, may be crucial in preventing or solving a crime.
  • Call or click Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000/ nsw.crimestoppers.com.au
  • For a crime in progress call Triple Zero (000). Save Triple Zero for Emergencies (000)

*Source:  NSW Farmers Survey, data analysis February 2021, Centre for Rural Criminology, University of New England.’

***PLEASE NOTE: Media inquiries and requests for interviews can be directed to Media Officer, Crime Stoppers NSW, Cecelia Haddad on phone: 0411 264 948 or email: [email protected] ***

A Prickly Problem – Sales of cacti causing havoc for people, pets, and parks

Cactus plants are popular potted and garden plants. They have an appealing aesthetic, are easy to grow, and thrive on neglect and so what’s not to love?

But certain cactus plants can harm people, pets and parks and it’s important to know what you are buying before you make that purchase.

Prickly pears are fleshy-stemmed cacti with sharp spines or barbed bristles that detach easily from the plants and lodge in skin and eyes. The bristles and spines can injure people as well impale, infect, blind, and even kill native animals, pets, working dogs and livestock. When the plants get out into the environment, they can form impenetrable walls of vegetation that prevent animals from grazing and from accessing shade and water. These types of cacti also reduce the natural beauty of our parks and outdoor areas. That’s why it is illegal to sell or swap them in NSW.

There are more than 27 species of prickly pear cacti known to be in Australia. Eve’s needle, bunny ears, smooth tree pear and blind cactus are all types of that unfortunately are still being traded. NSW Crime Stoppers, Local Land Services and the NSW Department of Primary Industries have joined forces and are calling for the community to help with two simple messages:  Do not sell or swap these plants and if you see them being sold, report it.

“Many people may not know the cacti they see for sale at their local market or online are illegal to sell or trade so we have developed information to help people identify the types of cacti.  If you have one of these plants do not sell or swap them.  These cactus infestations cost millions of dollars to control.  Stopping the spread is the only way to minimise the devastating impact these plants can cause,” said CEO, NSW Crime Stoppers, Mr Peter Price AM.

“Community awareness and action will be crucial in preventing the prohibited selling or swapping of these plants.  We are asking anyone who sees these plants being sold online to report it to NSW Crime Stoppers”, added Mr Price.

Spring usually brings an increase in plant sales, so we are appealing to the public to be on the lookout for trade of these plants, particularly online.  On the spot fines of $1,000 and penalties of up to $220,000 can apply if someone is found to be selling or swapping certain types of cacti in NSW.

You can help protect people, pets, and parks. If you see these plants being sold, please report it to NSW Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. We don’t need to know who you are, we just want to know what you know.

For a complete list of plants prohibited from sale or swap in NSW click here.  A fact sheet is also available at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ 

MEDIA RELEASE: Keeping children safe in the online playground

New research commissioned by NSW Crime Stoppers has found many parents do not believe or believe it’s unlikely that their child is at risk of being contacted by a stranger online.

The survey*, conducted with over 1,000 parents across Australia, looked at the attitudes and behaviours of parents regarding their child’s online activity. While over 93% of parents were concerned about a stranger approaching their child online, the study found 16.7% of parents thought their child was not at risk at all of being contacted by a stranger online and a further 26.5% thought it was unlikely.

In the lead up to National Child Protection Week run by NAPCAN, NSW Crime Stoppers has once again partnered with the eSafety Commissioner to firmly focus on promoting awareness of the dangers of the online playground and how to create a safer environment for children.

During 2020, the eSafety Commissioner’s (eSafety) Cyber Report team received 21,000 public reports, the majority of which involved child sexual abuse material. This was the most in the scheme’s 20-year history and a 90 per cent increase compared to 2019.

“Unwanted contact, grooming and child sexual abuse online continues to be a devastating issue, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains CEO, NSW Crime Stoppers, Mr Peter Price AM.

“Many parents would not leave their child alone in a playground and we want parents to think the same about the online playground. The internet is not ‘fenced off’ like in a community playground and even with parental controls, sexual predators can still find ways to connect with children online.  Until we can build a safe online playground for our children, we just ask parents to be vigilant around their child’s online activity and report anything you see, hear or suspect,” added Mr Price.

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, says that while they have seen big increases across all their reporting areas, parents should be aware, not alarmed.

“We’ve all turned to the internet during this pandemic to help us continue to work, learn, communicate and be entertained but with all this extra time we are spending online, often unsupervised, the risk that something can go wrong increases too,” said Ms Inman Grant.

“Parents and guardians have a role to play in keeping children safe online and we encourage parents and guardians to be actively involved in their children’s online lives. This can include ensuring children use devices in open areas of the home, talking regularly with children about the potential dangers online and helping them build the critical reasoning skills they need to make good decisions.”

The NSW Police Force (NSWPF) acknowledges the importance of National Child Protection Week and continues to support this initiative by not only bringing awareness to child protection, but also by encouraging children, young people, and their families to reach out for help if they need assistance, especially during this current pandemic.

“We acknowledge it has been another difficult year for children, families and communities dealing with COVID-19 and being isolated can leave many of our children more susceptible and vulnerable to victimisation. Children are spending more time online and this can place them at a higher risk of being targeted by online predators; and some may also be subjected to domestic and family violence or feel vulnerable in terms of mental health,” NSWPF Youth Sponsor, Assistant Commissioner Gelina Talbot said.

“We all have a responsibility to ensure children and young people in the community are safe, protected and supported, and are able to succeed in life without fear of harm and exploitation. This week provides us with an opportunity to highlight the issues children face and collaborate with others to enhance our response to keeping families and children safe and supported.”

Crime Stoppers, in conjunction with eSafety, has developed a Fact Sheet which has information on a range of prevention strategies to help keep children safe online. This can be downloaded at www.nsw.crimestoppers.com.au or for information and tips on how to keep your child safe online to go esafety.gov.au/parents

Protect your child’s privacy: esafety.gov.au/parents/skills-advice/privacy-child

Find reporting links for social media services, games and apps: esafety.gov.au/esafety-guide

Protect your child from unwanted contact: esafety.gov.au/parents/big-issues/unwanted-contact

Child sexual abuse material can be reported anonymously to the eSafety Commissioner at www.esafety.gov.au/reportillegalcontent

If you have seen inappropriate behaviour towards child online, including online grooming and unwanted contact, please make a report to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) at www.accce.gov.au/report. There is no information too small or insignificant to report.

In an emergency, always call Triple 0 (000).

MEDIA RELEASE Show us your guns: NSW residents encouraged to surrender or register guns as part of permanent firearms amnesty

Issued at 5am, Friday 2 July 2021

NSW Police Force and Crime Stoppers are calling for residents to register or surrender illegal firearms and ammunition without being penalised for illegal possession, as part of the first ever permanent national amnesty.

Crime Stoppers and police across the country are giving Australians a chance to surrender for destruction unwanted or unregistered firearms, parts, and ammunition at no cost and without penalty for illegal possession.

Our ultimate aim is for safer communities, and this starts with the safe storage of firearms, and the handing in of illegal firearms and ammunition. Taking illegal guns out of the community can never be a bad thing.

The amnesty coincides with the launch of Gun Safe – a new online portal for managing firearms transactions in NSW.  Designed with community safety top of mind, this platform is the first of its kind replacing manual licence applications with real time information and verification.

The portal will be linked to the acquisition of firearms in NSW and disposal of firearms locally and interstate.  This risk-based system notifies the registry of unusual or unverified transactions which will reduce risk of harm in the community.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the introduction of a permanent national amnesty sends a clear message that community safety is paramount.

“This new permanent amnesty will allow community members to surrender for destruction unwanted or unregistered firearms and ammunition cost free,” said Mr Elliott.

“Gun safe, the new online portal will ensure that all firearms transactions are accounted for, giving the community peace of mind that police can access real time information when it comes to guns to help prevent crime and keep our communities safe.”

Assistant Commissioner Scott Cook, the Police Prosecutions and Licensing Enforcement Commander, is encouraging gun owners to surrender or register their firearms.

“We encourage NSW residents to take advantage of the amnesty to surrender their firearms, gun parts and ammunition, without fear of being penalised for illegal possession.”

“Our focus, as always, is public safety. We want to reduce the number of illegal firearms in the community, so they don’t fall into the hands of criminals, who use unregistered firearms for intimidation and violence,” said Assistant Commissioner Cook.

Crime Stoppers CEO Peter Price AM said, “these initiatives are moving towards a more community centric approach to firearms and safety.   Previously, firearms amnesties had a definitive time frame, but we understand that some members of the community might change their minds about handing in illegal firearms, so we want to give them the opportunity to do so anytime, anywhere.”

“All of us have seen the harm that is caused by the unlawful use of a firearm and the impact on community confidence that often follows, which is why we all have a part to play in making our community safer – that’s our aim,” Mr Price said.

Participating dealers can now accept and record unregistered firearms through the NSW Police Force’s new Gun Safe platform. Dealers using the digital platform can register firearms, prohibited weapons, gun parts and ammunition under the Amnesty.

“For firearm dealers, Gun Safe provides enhanced recording and reporting functions, and real-time information about firearms on the system,” said Assistant Commissioner Cook.

“The new amnesty enhances the services available to dealers on Gun Safe including more transactions, beyond buying and selling of registered firearms.”

“For police, the system gives us more oversight, so we know when, where and how amnesty guns are being handed in.”

More information about the amnesty and surrendering, registering or selling unwanted firearms is available from crimestoppers.com.au/firearmsamnesty

Residents currently under stay-at-home orders in Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Central Coast will need to monitor the government advice on the NSW Health website to ensure they are legally able to hand in their firearms. Currently, handing in firearms does not meet the criteria of a reasonable excuse.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.  Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

Regional Crime

“Draw the line on regional crime” is the central message to the new Regional Crime Campaign being launched today.

In NSW, over 80% of farmers have reported being a victim of crime according to new research by the Centre for Rural Criminology, University of New England.  Even more critical is the high levels of repeat victimisation, with over 76% of farmers being a victim of crime on more than two occasions, and over 23% experiencing crime more than seven times*.

Crime Stoppers and the NSW Police Force are launching a state-wide crime campaign today (Monday 5 April 2021) to address awareness of regional crimes, prevention measures and to increase reporting to Crime Stoppers and the police.

Regional crime can affect individual’s finances and safety directly but can also have a more widespread impact on the prosperity of the town and its people.  In regional areas, the perception of a community, its safety, its people, and its economic situation can affect tourism, impact on its attraction of high-quality health professionals or teachers and other essential service providers.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Crimes in regional areas have a flow on effect, impacting pricing, distribution, and availability of produce everywhere.

The campaign will provide information on how regional communities can deter or prevent crime in their area while encouraging everyone to report crime.  The message to the NSW community is: Any information on any crime anytime. 

The Crime Stoppers contact centre operates 24/7, 365 days a year and all information captured is in complete confidence.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott is urging regional residents to report any piece of information no matter how small to Crime Stoppers and the NSW Police.

“It’s disheartening to hear over 80 per cent of our farmers have reported being victims of criminal activity. Our farmers have had a shocking few years with drought, bush fires, COVID-19 and floods – adding victim of crime to the mix is reprehensible.” Mr Elliott said.

“We’re calling on the NSW community to report any information on any crime anytime. If you know something, say something.”

“We’ve seen firsthand the resilience of our farmers but I draw the line on regional crime.”

CEO, NSW Crime Stoppers, Peter Price AM said “We don’t want to know who you are; we just want to know what you know,”

“Today we are launching a campaign to draw the line on regional crime.  Crime Stoppers is calling for a whole of community approach to draw the line on crime and adopt better prevention strategies and be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviour.   The result will be a better, more prosperous future and healthier communities that thrive,” added Mr Price.

Crime Stoppers is working with the NSW Police Force Rural Crime Prevention Team and the Police Transport and Public Safety Command across a range of major crime areas including stock theft and marine theft and poaching.

Stock theft, as one example, has a significant financial impact on our farmers. Between 2015 and 2020, there has been a conservative estimated value of $22.5m worth of sheep and cattle reported stolen within NSW.  If we consider the value of stud stock, loss of animal by-products and loss of future breeding potential, the financial impact on primary producers within NSW could realistically be over $60m*.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Brett Greentree, Corporate Sponsor for Rural Crime, NSW Police Force says it is important to work together to protect farmers.

“Rural crime has no borders and police across Australia are working together to protect the livelihood of our farmers against offenders who target them,” said Acting Assistant Commissioner Greentree.

“Our farmers have already suffered through drought, bushfires and floods and we will not accept people stealing from them or making them feel vulnerable in their own home.  We urge you to call Crime Stoppers or your local police with any information.”

The theft and poaching of oysters and rock lobster, and the illegal harvest and trade of abalone, is having a detrimental effect on the industry, threatening the future of legitimate seafood businesses and retailers.  It also affects marine resources, tourism and business and can lead to a higher risk of contamination if not processed in accordance with safe food handling practices.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter APM, Commander of the Police Transport and Public Safety Command said crime in the marine space is also leading to an even greater risk to the wider community.

“In many cases, the fabric and economic stability of a country community is associated with its local marine environment.  The waterways are kind to us, they sustain us, and they give us food, but it all must be done legally and with diligence to the environment,” said Assistant Commissioner Cotter.

“Those breaking the law and fishing without legitimacy or licences are committing criminal acts. It is up to all of us – the community, and the police – to work together, report and disrupt this crime, and ensure the future of the waterways and the prosperity and culture of the community.”

The newly launched community awareness campaign will run state-wide for a 12-month period.  Crime Stoppers will be visiting regional communities to engage with communities in an effort to help reduce crime and increase reporting.

Crime in regional areas is not new, however it continues to be a growing area of concern for the whole of NSW, not just the farming community and therefore it needs a whole of community approach.

  • You can help by reporting anything suspicious, strange, or concerning.
  • Any piece of information, anything you have seen or heard, may be crucial in preventing or solving a crime.
  • Call or click Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000/ nsw.crimestoppers.com.au
  • For a crime in progress call Triple Zero (000). Save Triple Zero for Emergencies (000)

*Source:  NSW Farmers Survey, data analysis February 2021, Centre for Rural Criminology, University of New England.’

 

Crime Stoppers (NSW) partners with free community register to tackle bike theft

With advancements in bike technology and some bikes now worth more cars, bikes are hot property, not just for bike lovers, but for thieves.

Bike sales are sitting at $1.2 million annually and this year has seen the demand surge by 60% compared to last year.  Much of this has been brought on by COVID-19 with people wanting to move around in a COVID safe way as well as seeking a safe form of exercise for families.  This demand has led to a shortage and put bikes on the radar for thieves to sell in the buoyant used bike market.

Crime Stoppers has partnered with BikeVault and Bicycle NSW to help reduce theft and increase the chances of stolen bikes being recovered.

BikeVault – a national online bike platform originally launched in 2015, is a free community service where bike owners can store their bike’s details. So, in case it’s stolen and recovered, the bike can be tracked and returned to the owner. Combining the forces of industry Crime Stoppers works with the Police, bike owners and the wider community – to expose and defeat the illicit trade in stolen bikes.

Additionally, when buying a used bike, you can check to see if the bike you are buying is stolen property, ie. chain of custody.

In the unfortunate event a bike is stolen, online support can assist owners in finding their bike and increase the odds of its recovery by police.  A major part of bike recovery it’s the online community which helps bring awareness to the stolen bikes by having spotters who trawl for and report stolen bikes found for sale online and at less reputable retail premises.

The power of an informed community cannot be overestimated.  Prior to the launch of this register, stolen bikes were easy to sell for quick profits with perpetrators having little fear of the stolen bike being identified and them being caught.  Removing the pathways to safely sell and profit from stolen property is the ultimate deterrent to profit driven theft.

A resident from Westmead, Dave, had his bike stolen from a locker whereby the thief used a crowbar to break it free.  “I entered my bike’s details on Bike Vault and the Police portal. Several weeks later, someone saw my bike for sale, realised it was stolen and reported it.  Thanks to the Police and the online community I managed to get my bike back.  I would recommend anyone who owns a bike to make sure they register their bike’s details.  You will have a much better chance of having it recovered”.

“We want to encourage all bike owners to use this free service for your bike, increase its identification to deter thieves and make it easier to recover.  If you are thinking of buying a bike check online before you purchase a bike to ensure it isn’t stolen and please report stolen bikes.  With the community working together we can prevent and reduce crime in our community”, said NSW Crime Stoppers, CEO, Mr Peter Price AM.

Crime Stoppers, BikeVault and Bicycle NSW will be working together on a dedicated campaign to garner a groundswell of community support and action to reduce bike theft.

More information or to enter your bike’s identification details can be found at: https://www.bikevault.com.au

 

-ends-

For more information:

NSW Crime Stoppers: Public Affairs: Cecelia Haddad: 0411 264 948

 

About BikeVAULT

BikeVAULT part of the PropertyVAULT suite of free to use asset registers is the leading national online platform to combat bike theft – providing digital lifecycle asset identification and ownership protection.

 

About Bicycle NSW

Bicycle NSW is the peak advocacy body for people who ride bikes in NSW. Its mission is to: Create a better environment for all bicycle riders.