14 April, 2023
Forum tackles rural crime
A meeting held on a Nangwee property last week addressed rural crime and set the stage for closer collaboration between landowners and police in tackling the problem.
Around 50 landowners from Pittsworth, Jondaryan and Cecil Plains districts met last week to discuss the problem of thefts on properties in the region.
Police from Toowoomba, Jondaryan and Pittsworth along with two members of the Stock Squad spoke about the importance of having security cameras, marking property and prompt reporting of thefts to police.
Member for Condamine Pat Weir said he had helped arrange the meetings after hearing that landowners were frustrated to the point of wanting to take action into their owns hands.
“I’ve been getting reports from landowners about property being stolen off farms such as vehicles, leads off grain augers and copper off sheds,” he said.
“People felt the attention was all on the cities.
“I met with (Darling Downs Major Organised Crime Squad’s Detective Senior Sergeant) Jim Lacey to see what was happening and we decided to hold a shed meeting.”
Police informed the landholders that having markings on equipment was essential to help track down links between offenders and the location of their activities.
“Some of these land-holders have been hit four times in the last 12 months and they have been talking about taking matters into their own hands,” Mr Weir said.
He said that there was frustration at the lack of punishment handed out to offenders once caught.
Sergeant Tim Hoffman said the meeting gave local landholders a change to convey their concerns and police were able to give advice on crime prevention methods.
He said there had since been one incident reported, from a property at Rossvale where a chainsaw and other items were taken from a shed over the Easter long weekend.
Concerns were also raised at the meeting over the under-manning of the Cecil Plains police station, with the town having been without a police officer for six months.
Mr Weir said that there was interest in holding further meetings.
“It may not be the last meeting we have,” he said.