Tweed detective shares insight into crime trends
THEFT, sexual assault and internet scams were just some of the topics covered by Tweed - Byron Police District's crime manager at this month's Tweed Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Detective Chief Inspector Brendon Cullen said there was a decrease in crime on the Tweed over the past decade but there was one offence targeting the vulnerable that was on the incline.
DCI Cullen said scammers from mainly Nigeria and Africa were swindling thousands of dollars from the elderly and people seeking human connection.
He said internet fraud was difficult to investigate and if fallen victim, it was almost impossible to get the money back.
"We've had people in this area who have been victim to these scams and … the emotional harm it's caused the victims is just quite unbelievable," DCI Cullen said.
"Things like dating and romance scams. You wouldn't think it would be a major issue, but it is.
"People prey on other people's loneliness and people lose thousands of dollars.
"Another scam which is quite prevalent is the threat of a penalty.
"You might be sent an email from the Australian Taxation Office demanding you pay money or they'll call police, or you may get some other person pretending they're an authority and demanding money.
"Often the perpetrators are overseas so the chances of getting your money back are next to none."
DCI Cullen said summer and Christmas holidays also brought an increase in sexual assault and theft.
He said there was a spike in stealing offences at this time of the year and appealed to the public to "protect themselves".
He said in the past juveniles from the Gold Coast targeted Kingscliff and Casuarina residents because it was "easy pickings for them".
"We had police at Kingscliff working in the early hours of the morning and they brought back photos of garage doors open, there was a key in the ignition of a car parked out the front of a house, doors unlocked on cars," he said.
"We have video there of kids running along the streets just pulling car door handles.
"If the door opens, great, they're into it, if it doesn't, they were on to the next car.
"And it's as simple as protecting yourselves."
He said sexual assault offences predominantly resulted from intoxication.
"You can't give consent if you are intoxicated and that's the message we give to our schools and our young people that if someone is intoxicated they are at law incapable of giving consent."
For those who want to know more about how to protect themselves or their business, DCI Cullen recommended to read a publication by the ACCC called The Little Black Book of Scams.
It is available for download here: accc.gov.au/publications/the-little-black-book-of-scams.