Queenslanders turn on each other in COVID crisis
Calls to Crime Stoppers spiked by a massive 66 per cent in April as Queenslanders rushed to dob each other in for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
Nearly 10,000 calls came into the service during April, almost doubling the number of calls made in February.
Queensland was under strict lockdown in April, with restaurants and cafes closed for all but takeaway orders and visitors to homes severely limited. Travel around the state was banned and Queenslanders were only able to leave their homes for a handful of specific activities.
Figures released to The Courier-Mail show it was then that Crime Stoppers Queensland recorded a "massive" influx of calls - despite a drop in the amount of criminal activity.
It is understood police were kept busy chasing reports of businesses doing the wrong thing, illegal house parties or people travelling without a valid reason.
"Crime Stoppers experienced a massive spike - 66 per cent compared to the month average - in the volume of reports during April 2020, following calls from authorities to report breaches of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions," Crime Stoppers Queensland chief executive officer Carmen Jenkinson said.
"This result demonstrates that Queenslanders are actively engaged in community safety and that they trust Crime Stoppers to share their information."
Crime Stoppers Queensland received 68,000 reports during the 2019/20 financial year, resulting in more than $3.4 million in drug seizures and $1.7 million in proceeds of crime confiscations.
Of the reports, 43,000 were made over the phone and 24,000 online.
A total of 5060 reports were made in February, 5829 in March and 9425 during the April lockdown.
The number dropped again in May to 6021.
But despite the April increase, the number of arrests and charges decreased, with criminal activity dropping off as people stayed in their homes.
"While many Queenslanders were working from home it seems we were all more conscious of the activity in our local areas and we've been responsibly sharing information to help keep our communities safe," Ms Jenkinson said.
Queensland police made 1700 arrests and laid 6500 charges from information provided by members of the public.
The most commonly reported crimes over the 2019/20 financial year were drugs, theft and offences against the person.
"Sharing information about crime or suspicious activity will help to keep our communities safe, so tell Crime Stoppers what you know, you don't have to tell us who you are," Ms Jenkinson said.
Crime Stoppers: www.crimestoppersqld.com.au or 1800 333 000.
Originally published as Queenslanders turn on each other in COVID crisis