$6 Million Stolen From Homes Amid Ongoing Youth Crime Wave: Insurer

‘The exponential increase in demand is something that we have never seen before, particularly prior to COVID-19.’
$6 Million Stolen From Homes Amid Ongoing Youth Crime Wave: Insurer
Police attend the scene of a multiple stabbing in Cairns, Australia, on Dec. 19, 2014. (Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Isabella Rayner
Queensland had a surge in home break-ins in 2023, resulting in $6 million (US$3.94 million) worth of stolen property, amid crime rates doubling in some postcodes compared to previous years.
Townsville, inner Brisbane, and the city’s southside saw the most home break-ins, with 208 claims, an 18 percent increase from the previous year, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ)’s insurance data showed. 
In the Wide Bay region, home theft claims doubled from the 40 recorded previously to 81.
RACQ Insurance’s Trent Sayers said the company’s 1,327 claims across Queensland in 2023 signify a concerning five percent uptick in home theft incidents.
“More thefts occurred on weekdays than any other day of the week, with Monday being the most popular day for theft,” he said
At the same time, the January-March quarter saw more claims than any other three-month period.
He expressed concern over home theft affecting many Queenslanders in the past year “at a time when the cost of living was already taking a toll.”
“We also saw a 35 percent increase in the total cost of home theft claims in 2023 compared to the previous year, and this is a result of increased claims volumes, higher value property being stolen, and inflation,” he explained. 
“Our research revealed that most Queenslanders are worried about home theft, with more than half (52 percent) stating they were concerned about home or vehicle break-ins while not at home.”
He noted some straightforward precautions people could take to deter opportunistic thieves.
“While you’re on holiday, consider posting your snaps on social media once you’ve already returned, so you aren’t advertising that your home is unprotected,” he said. 
“If you’re heading away for an extended period, ask a trusted neighbour or friend to collect your mail, mow your lawn, and take your bins in and out.”
Nevertheless, Cairns, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Gold Coast, Fitzroy, and Moreton Bay North recorded decreased home theft claims, indicating potential success in their crime prevention efforts.
The most significant decrease occurred in Moreton Bay North, with 33 claims made compared to 57 the previous year.

Top Cop Katarina Carroll Resigns Amid Crime Surge

In light of the crime surge, the state’s top cop Katarina Carroll announced an early resignation on Feb. 20 after serving for five years.
The Queensland police commissioner said she would not be seeking an extension to her contract, reportedly worth $650,000 a year, set to conclude in July. She has opted to leave early on March 1.
It comes amid speculation about her future due to concerns over youth crime and reports of officer unrest.
She admitted policing is “challenging,” with crime having surged to an unprecedented level in the wake of the pandemic. 
“The exponential increase in demand is something that we have never seen before, particularly prior to COVID-19,” she said. 
“To have in one year, a 25 percent increase in domestic violence is just unheard of.”
However, Ms. Carroll firmly denied being a “scapegoat,” saying, “I made this decision [to step down] and was going to discuss not renewing my contract with the minister in about two weeks, but because of the heightened speculation and commentary, I brought these discussions forward,” she told the ABC.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski will serve as acting commissioner during Ms. Carroll’s departure.

Northern Territory Also Faces Sharp Rise in Break-ins

Queensland is not alone in its heightened vigilance, as the Northern Territory (NT) also experienced a concerning increase in home and car break-ins in 2022 compared to 2023.
House break-ins across the Territory rose by 17.72 percent from 3,013 to 3,547, roughly translating to one break-in per day throughout the year.
Car theft also jumped by 13.54 percent from 1,913 to 2,172.
Labor MP Marion Scrymgour echoed her concern, calling for authorities to urgently address youth crime.
She has advocated for an approach that does not view all offending children as “little angels,” emphasising the need for parents to take responsibility for their children’s behaviour.
“It’s a bit out of control ... we’re seeing a real exodus out of central Australia, people are leaving and that could be bad fosr the town,” Ms. Scrymgour said.
“We’ve got to make some inroad into this cycle before [a young person] gets seriously hurt.”
Isabella Rayner is a reporter based in Melbourne, Australia. She is an author and editor for WellBeing, WILD, and EatWell Magazines.
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