CMC paper predicts organised crime to target mining boom

Crime Assistant Commissioner Kathleen Florian
Crime Assistant Commissioner Kathleen Florian Rae Wilson

CRIMINALS are expected to capitalise on Queensland's mining boom and infrastructure projects in the next two to three years.

Strategic intelligence points to organised crime groups expected to target heavy equipment - such as excavators, tractors, front-end loaders, forklifts and skid steer loaders - copper, motor vehicles and boats.

The intelligence shows some OCG members are either employed in or have links to the mining and construction industries, giving them direct access to sites and inside information.

Organised heavy equipment theft occurs mostly in rural and regional areas, with hotspots including Toowoomba, Dalby, Mackay and Rockhampton.

The CMC's strategic intelligence paper on organised property crime, released on Thursday, suggests organised criminals are responsible for more than 40% of all thefts.

Crime and Misconduct Commission's crime assistant commissioner Kathleen Florian said profit-motivated heavy equipment theft has increased 75% since 2007, from 132 to 231 thefts.

She said profit-motivated motor vehicle thefts rose more than 30% last year, from 42 thefts per 100,000 registrations in 2010 to 56 in 2011.

Ms Florian said motor vehicles and heavy equipment were most at risk from organised theft, primarily because of their profitability and that they were often soft targets.

"What we know is that organised criminals will always seek out 'insiders' to help facilitate their crimes," she said.

"They're well-connected, highly flexible and rarely focus on one area of criminal activity.

"There are also suggestions the expansion of the mining and construction industries in Queensland has helped to create a large and often vulnerable market for stolen heavy equipment (both supply and demand), and it's possible offences are being committed to fill orders for specific equipment and parts.

"If these industries grow over the next few years, it's likely that organised heavy equipment theft will also continue to increase."

Ms Florian said the public and business owners could best help prevent organised thefts by ensuring their cars or heavy machinery were not left unlocked or unsecure.

She said heavy equipment were often kept in isolated or unsecure locations, such as unobserved worksite, often with one 'master key' used to operate multiple pieces of equipment.

Topics:  cmc mining organised crime

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