The crime rates in the Shire of Capel came under the spotlight in parliament last week after Police Minister Michelle Roberts revealed “unacceptable levels” of crime.
Ms Roberts said under the former government, communities like Capel and Dayellup were neglected for too long and crime was left to reach unacceptable levels.
From July 2016 to June 2017, police responded to 175 offences against a person, 699 offences against property, 206 drug related offences and 60 other offences.
Of those there was one was a homicide, 17 sexual assaults, 70 domestic assaults, 47 non domestic assaults and 23 threatening behaviour among others.
Ms Roberts said that was why the state government would build a new police station at Capel which was allocated $8 million dollars in this year’s budget.
“Drugs, in particular methamphetamine, are a significant driver of crime not just in the South West but all over the state,” she said.
“It is an insidious drug which is tearing families apart, driving addicts to commit burglaries, theft, serious assaults and other violent crime.”
Ms Roberts said police had conducted outstanding work targeting drugs in the region, under the leadership of Superintendent Michael Sutherland and his team.
“The recent boost to detective numbers in the South West is expected to build on that good work,” she said.
“Dealers, traffickers and others in the drug chain who spread harm in our community will now face life in jail if they are caught.”
Shire of Capel chief executive officer Paul Sheedy said while council was concerned about crime and preferred that it was not in its towns and communities it was an unfortunate fact of life.
“The level in Capel needs to be kept in context to the rest of the South West,” he said.
“Discussions with the South West Police Office in Bunbury would indicate that Capel is no worse than any other small community or town in the South West.”
Collie-Preston MP Mick Murray said they were in talks with the shire to find a suitable location for a police station and hoped to complete the project in July 2020.
Mr Murray said there were spikes in crime rates and it was generally a small group of people who were responsible for crime.
“Along with the hard work of police in surrounding stations, the community needs to be vigilant,” he said.
“There is a spike in crime at the moment all over the South West. Capel is no different to any other town; it has its ups and downs. Sooner or later, the police will catch those responsible. With a new police station in town, it will be sooner.”