Operation Chando and its results were the focus of a Community Safety Precinct meeting held at the Narrandera Ex-services Club yesterday.
Since May, Operation Chando has been responsible for targeting Narrandera’s high rate of property offences.
As a result, 13 people have been charged with 43 offences, 13 motor vehicles have been recovered and over 400 items of property were recovered by Police.
Two firearms have also been recovered and five accused have been refused bail. One of the offenders faced court yesterday.
Most importantly, there has been a hugely significant reduction in the number of property offences in Narrandera.
Crime Manager for the Griffith LAC Detective Inspector Tim Atwood headed the presentation on the work achieved by Strike Force Chando.
“Strike Force Chando was formed in May 2017 to respond to the rise in property crime in Narrandera,” Insp Atwood said.
He walked the group through the process of establishing the strike force and how Police can spot a pattern in crime statistics.
“We take a group of people from various units, we take them offline, take them from what they’re doing, we hand them a problem and we get them to fix it. A strike force can be anywhere from two to 40 people.
“Since the strike force took effect there has been a reduction in crime,” Insp Atwood said.
“Obviously crime hasn’t disappeared. There’s no magic dust that we can sprinkle and make everything good overnight. Things take time.”
Crime rates in Narrandera have dropped substantially.
There were no residential break and enters in the month of September and only two commercial break and enters.
It must be noted that Police statistics count an attempted break and enter, even a broken lock or a removed flyscreen, as a successful break and enter.
Insp Atwood said there were no plans to dismantle Strike Force Chando at present and it would continue for the foreseeable future.
“We have no intention of winding up.
“There’s still further charges to be laid against those already arrested.
“We want to maintain a level of pro-activity and there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure successful outcomes at court.
Insp Atwood showed the meeting a break-down of crime statistics for Narrandera.
“In May and June we saw an increase in steal from a motor vehicle. Steal from a motor vehicle is a difficult crime to solve.
“It’s a crime of opportunity. It happens quickly and it’s often difficult for us to be on the spot.
“With a break and enter, there’s more noise, the property is bigger so it’s harder to move and offload, the time spent in the house is longer – it gives us more evidenceto work with.
“In July, the residential break and enters peaked.”
The age of the alleged offenders was a point that was brought up in the meeting.
While offenders cannot be identified after charges have been laid and are before the courts, the majority of individuals facing charges were in their 30s and 40s.
“The ages of the offenders is not the norm,” said Griffith Local Area Commander Michael Rowan.
“Often the focus is on the juveniles and the juveniles are not represented here.
“The vast majority of juvenile offenders we never see again.
“These offenders, they’ve worked through their level of criminality, their level of knowledge – even their knowledge about how we operate, which makes things difficult for us.
“In real terms, there are no juveniles, or there’s very few juveniles here.”
Inspector Atwood and Commander Rowan both noted that Narrandera had come from a very low base of crime initially.
Commander Rowan described Narrandera 18 months ago as being a statistical “row of zeros” when it came to listed offences.
“We realise that one house getting broken into is one house too many and the psychological and emotional impact is not good,” Insp Atwood said.
In other statistics, Narrandera sits substantially lower than the NSW average for 2016-2017 in all areas except for stealing and motor vehicle theft, which are on par with the rest of NSW, and break and enter, which is higher than the NSW average.
Other offences, such as assault and robbery are substantially lower in Narrandera than the NSW average.
These Community Safety Precinct meetings are an opportunity for Police to engage with the community within the LAC. The meetings are held quarterly and are hosted in different locations around the LAC.