REVEALED: Worrying spike in serious crimes across Ipswich
DESPITE a worrying increase in armed robberies across Ipswich, the city's head detective says the crims have been sent a strong message.
The Queensland Police Annual Statistical Review shows there were 63 armed robberies reported across the Ipswich police district in 2016-17; an increase of more than 43% from the previous financial year, when 44 offences were reported.
Also on the increase were offences of rape and attempted rape - up from 98 to 131 - and assault, which increased from 878 reported offences in 2015-16 to 998 in 2016-17.
Acting Detective Inspector Troy Salton while the rise in armed robbery offences should be a concern, the positive that could be drawn from the stats was in the high clearance rate.
Insp Salton said the Ipswich Criminal Investigation Branch had a 100% clearance rate for armed robbery offences, meaning no offences were left unsolved.
"It's a big achievement which is a combination of the support we get from the community in the form of good information and the hard work of our detectives," he said.
"Police rely on quality information because we can't be everywhere."
It wasn't just some of the more serious offences that increased in Ipswich.
The overall crime rate climbed by more than 14% compared to 2015-2016.
A total of 27,559 offences were reported in 2016-2017.
Despite the increase, the district's top cop welcomed the figures, saying they represented an overall decrease in the rate of offences against people and property over the past decade.
Ipswich District Officer Superintendent Brian Huxley said it was important to take the city's significant population growth into account.
"When adjusted for population growth, the overall crime rate of offences against the person over the past 10 years decreased by 20% and offences against property decreased by 12.2%," Supt Huxley said.
In 2016/17, unlawful use of motor vehicles increased by 17.4% and unlawful entry into houses increased by 0.5%, while unlawful entry into shops decreased by 14.8% and unlawful entry into other premises decreased by 6.7%.
Offences against property were among the bigger concerns for police, with an increase of 11.6% in the past year.
Insp Salton said a high percentage of property offences would be reduced if people remembered simple things like locking doors and leaving valuables out of sight.
"Stealing from vehicles can be prevented by locking your car," he said.
"We still see a lot of people parking their cars on the side of the road and leaving them unlocked. Tradesmen and leaving tools out in the ute; that's one of the big things we are finding."
The theft of number plates for use in more serious offences is also a major headache for police, as victims often find it hard to pinpoint when and where the plates were stolen.
On the technology side of the equation, police noted a 10% increase in computer-related frauds over the past financial year.
Credit card fraud increased by 17.6%, and identity fraud increased by 50.2%
"Over the past 10 years fraud offences have increased by 2.7 percent, and with ongoing advancements in technology, fraudulent activity continues to be prevalent in our community with 1,023 offences reported in the Ipswich District over the past 12 months," Supt Huxley said.
"The 'Tact before Text' program has been implemented to address both what is put online and the information that is posted online.
"This is a timely reminder to the community of the importance of adopting preventative measures and behaviours such as not providing personal information to unverified organisations or individuals, to ensure they are protected against fraud."
Also on the increase across Ipswich is the rate of Domestic and Family Violence Applications, however police said this could be from an increase in awareness and reporting of issues.
The number of DV applications increased from 727 in 2015/16 to 799 in 2016/17.
"In 2016/17, approximately 65% of applications were police initiated," Supt Huxley said.
The number of breaches to Domestic and Family Violence Protection Orders increased from 1,312 in 2015/16 to 1,546 in 2016/17.
The Annual Statistical Review 2016-17 is available on the QPS website.