What is the Burglar Beware Program?
Burglar Beware was developed by the Office of Crime Prevention in response to the unacceptably high level of residential burglary in Western Australia in 2002/03. Since the implementation of Burglar Beware strategies in 2003, burglary rates have declined at one of the fastest rates in Australia.
International and National best practice suggest that a single strand approach to crime reduction is not as effective as a multi-faceted, whole of government commitment. Research reinforced the necessity to move away from a simplistic approach to this complex issue.
Burglar Beware is underpinned by the assumption that crime prevention and reduction should not be the sole responsibility of police. All levels of government and the community have a stake in the safety and well-being of Western Australian citizens.
Burglar Beware is characterised by two distinct functions, each of which utilise a range of strategies and tools:
- State-wide marketing and media – the Burglar Beware campaign
- Intensive local intervention – the Burglar Beware program
This tool kit is focused on the Burglar Beware program and how it may be implemented at a local level.
The Burglar Beware program began its life as Operation ‘Burglary Countdown’ which was conducted over a 12 month period in three ‘hotspot’ pilot locations: Bentley, Morley and Carnarvon. Each location experienced dramatic reductions in residential burglary – 45%, 24% and 51% respectively. The model has been independently evaluated and is available for downloading here.
The program has since been rolled out to parts of the South East Metropolitan Police District which have all seen continued reductions in burglary.
This tool-kit has been designed as a resource to assist government and non-government agencies to work together with local police to reduce the incidence of burglary in their communities.
The Burglar Beware program addresses a range of issues that impact on burglary including:
- Home security
- Offender diversion and intervention
- Community awareness and involvement
- Targeting known and repeat offenders
- School attendance
- Stolen goods disposal
- Information and intelligence gathering
- Coordination between government agencies
- Linking with non-government organisations
UNDERSTANDING BURGLAR BEWARE IN WA
There are two main facets to Burglar Beware in WA:
- State-wide marketing and media campaigns
- Intensive intervention in burglary ‘hot-spot’ areas – Burglar Beware
This tool-kit focuses on the implementation of community level initiatives. The State-wide awareness-raising campaigns are government funded and will add value to any initiatives undertaken at the local level. Burglar Beware brochures are also available to download and should also be available in all police districts.
Burglar Beware can be implemented by any agency with a stake in reducing burglary in a given area. Often local police will take the initiative however one of the keys to the program’s success is consistent and committed interagency collaboration. Key stakeholders include:
- Police (Local OIC and/or Crime Prevention Officer)
- Local Government
- Department of Health
- Department of Sport & Recreation
- Department of Housing and Works
- Department of Corrective Services / Attorney-General’s Department
- Department for Community Development
- Department of Education and Training
- Local Business & Community Groups etc.
HOW DOES BURGLAR BEWARE FIT WITH LOCAL CRIME PREVENTION PLANNING?
Burglar Beware is one of a suite of initiatives that may be implemented through Local Government Community Safety and Crime Prevention Committees. The Plans developed by these Committees will have identified priority crime issues for the Local Government Area and if burglary is a priority, the implementation of the Burglar Beware program may be an appropriate response. Depending on your own particular Committee structure, it may be that the Burglar Beware Team reports regularly to the Committee or that a Committee delegate attends Burglar Beware Team meetings. It is essential that there is a sound reporting structure between the two groups.
IS BURGLAR BEWARE SUITED TO MY AREA?
An intensive and multi-faceted program such as Burglar Beware works best in areas where:
- There is a high incidence of burglary or burglary is a major community concern. To find out how your area compares to the rest of the State, go to: http://www.police.wa.gov.au/
- There is one agency willing to take a lead role in coordinating the program for the first 12 months. A rotating Chair may be installed after this period.
- There is the capacity to monitor crime statistics in a meaningful way (e.g. the program area should fit with Police boundaries or Local Government boundaries and at least one agency representative should have access to a range of data sources)
Download Information Brochures
Burglar Beware Information Kit (PDF - 251KB)
Burglary Victim Kit (PDF - 350KB)