Safeguarding Chelmer: Residents Take Charge Against Youth Crime

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Residents in the affluent Brisbane suburb of Chelmer, along with neighbouring suburbs like Graceville and Sherwood, have resorted to drastic measures to combat rising youth crime rates. They’ve employed the services of a private security guard and his highly-trained dogs, spending thousands of dollars weekly in their bid to protect their community. 

Frustrated with what they perceive as a lacklustre response from the government and courts regarding youth crime, residents have initiated community efforts to enhance safety. 

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One local, a young father, spearheaded these actions after a disturbing incident involving juveniles allegedly armed with machetes breaking into a mother’s home in Sherwood. He expressed discontent with government inaction and emphasised the urgency of addressing the escalating problem.

Patrols and Surveillance

Under the guidance of ex-army reservist Dan Walker, Walker Security conducts patrols equipped with highly visible vehicles and trained protection dogs. Daily reports from these patrols keep residents informed of any suspicious activities. 

Walker Security
Photo Credit: Walker Security/Facebook

The visible presence of security personnel and their vigilant monitoring have significantly deterred criminal activities, contributing to a notable decrease in reported offences, particularly in Chelmer, where property values are high.

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When the locals took matters into their own hands in November 2023, the residents claimed that crime rates plummeted by as much as 80 per cent in their area.

Chelmer crime stats
Chelmer Crime Statistics Feb 2023 to Feb 2024
Photo Credit: QPS

Based on the Queensland Police Services statistics, the number of offences like robbery, unlawful entry, and theft have decreased in the suburbs.

Chelmer crime stats
Chelmer Offences (Robbery, Unlawful Entry, Theft) – Aug 2023 to Feb 2024
Photo Credit: QPS
Chelmer crime stats
Chelmer Offences (Robbery, Unlawful Entry, Theft) – Nov 2023 to Feb 2024
Photo Credit: QPS

Police Response and Strategies for 2024

While community-led initiatives strive to mitigate immediate concerns, law enforcement agencies still grapple with long-term solutions. 

Queensland’s Acting Assistant Commissioner for Youth Crime, Andrew Massingham, outlines police strategies for 2024, emphasising the need for swift action against violent youth offenders. With a focus on early intervention and prevention, police aim to address the root causes of youth crime while utilising technologies such as GPS trackers to monitor offenders.

Amidst these efforts, academic voices like Associate Professor Troy Allard from Griffith University, advocate for a systemic rethink in approaching youth justice. 

Criticising the current emphasis on deterrence, Dr Allard suggests a shift towards prevention-focused interventions, highlighting the need for holistic support systems involving therapy and family supervision. Such initiatives, he argues, could yield more meaningful and sustainable outcomes in addressing youth crime.

Police Commissioner Steps Down

Amidst growing tensions within police ranks and criticisms over the handling of recent incidents, Police Commisioner Katarina Carroll announced her decision to step down during a meeting with Police Minister Mark Ryan at Brisbane Airport on 20 February 2024. Her resignation follows heightened speculation and comes in the wake of concerns over the state’s response to youth crime.

Despite Premier Steven Miles’ previous support, Carroll emphasised the need to “clear the air” and allow the Queensland Police Service to focus on addressing critical issues. As discussions swirl around her departure, attention turns to the future leadership of the force and the ongoing challenges in tackling youth offending.

Commissioner Carroll’s last day will be on 1 March 2024, months out from when her contract was due to finish. She was appointed to the role in 2019, becoming the first woman in the position after serving as commissioner of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service.

Published 20-Feb-2024