100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

Outcry as crime numbers soar on Coast as police try to clamp down on offenders

Do you have a news tip? Click here to send to our news team.

Fishing report: Jasper’s big reef haul

We've finally enjoyed a run of good weather, with beautiful sunny days and minimal wind. The weather is looking pretty good for the coming weekend More

Major bank to relocate town’s only branch

A big four bank is set to relocate its only remaining branch in a busy town, meaning customers will need to go to the More

Upgrades for three busy intersections on main road

Works have started on improving a trio of intersections on bustling Nicklin Way. The upgrades are set to help reduce congestion and the potential for More

Crane arrival marks new heights for hospital construction

The skyline of new Maroochydore CBD is transforming with the arrival of a tower crane on the Maroochy Private Hospital construction site, marking another More

New deputy mayor appointed as Natoli makes first address

The new Sunshine Coast Council has held its post-election meeting, with Councillor Maria Suarez to serve as the region’s new deputy mayor. Cr Suarez, who More

Photo of the day: sunrise reflections

Sunrise at Mooloolaba Beach, by Helen Browne. If you have a photo of the day offering, email photo@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. Photos must be horizontal/landscape and may need More

The Sunshine Coast is in the midst of its worst crime wave, according to figures released by the Queensland Police Service.

The region was afflicted by 28,664 offences in 2023, which is the most since records started more than 20 years ago and a 35 per cent increase from 2013.

The soaring numbers have prompted an outcry of frustration and criticism, while police say they’re committed to tackling crime in the region.

LNP candidate for Nicklin Marty Hunt said the statistics painted a dire picture.

“The evidence is clear and confirms what long-suffering residents on the Sunshine Coast have long known: they are less safe in their home or out and about in the community now more than ever,” he said.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

Shadow police minister and MP for Ninderry Dan Purdie said there was a “crime crisis” and he believed that weaker laws contributed to the increase in offences.

“I was on the front line as a detective in the Queensland Police when the government starting watering down the youth justice laws in 2015,” he said.

2023 was the worst year for crime on the Sunshine Coast. Picture: QPS.

“I had a front-row seat and saw firsthand how this tipped the balance of power away from the police and into the hands of young, repeat violent offenders.

“The epidemic of repeat young offenders livestreaming their crimes and bragging about their lawlessness and that the police can’t stop them just emboldens other young offenders to follow a similar path.

“With increased population, weaker laws and fewer police, it’s no wonder our local police are struggling to get a handle on crime.”

A Queensland Police Service spokesperson told Sunshine Coast News they were committed to curbing crime, and they said record numbers on the Sunshine Coast were due to several reasons.

“Reported crime has increased on the Sunshine Coast due to a range of factors, including significant population growth and the cost-of-living crisis,” they said.

The population increased by about 30 per cent from 2011 to 2021, according to Sunshine Coast Council.

One of the crimes to balloon to high levels last year was unlawful use of a motor vehicle (UUMV), which includes the stolen vehicles. The number of offences more than doubled from 404 in 2015 to 867 in 2023.

Record crime levels were recorded at growth suburbs Caloundra, Sippy Downs and Beerwah.

Unlawful use of a motor vehicle is at a 21-year high in the region. Picture: QPS

The spokesperson said police had implemented plans to address UUMV.

“Police have several investigative strategies in place to address this matter, supported by intelligence information,” they said.

“Operations Lasso and Operation Filter have been initiated, along with patrol taskings and automatic number plate recognition technologies to ensure policing resources are aware of the criminal activity and can be in the right place at the right time.”

Those strategies helped them identify and act against five repeat alleged offenders at Coolum.

The spokesperson said residents can help restrict the number of stolen vehicles.

“Complacency to secure vehicles, homes and belongings attracts criminals to neighbourhoods,” they said.

“One in every three home break-ins, which can lead to stolen vehicles and UUMV as mentioned previously, is through unlocked doors and open windows.

“Police are encouraging the community to work together to play a part in preventing crime.”

A new police station opened at Nambour in mid-2022.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said fighting crime was a priority.

“Any instance of criminal offending is unacceptable,” he said.

“It’s why the government has and will continue to legislate to ensure there are consequences for criminals.”

Crimes to reach record levels on the Sunshine Coast in 2023 include murder (5), assault (2015), robbery (117), breaching domestic violence orders (2576) and trespassing and vagrancy (460), while crimes that recorded a significant drop in recent years include unlawful entry (1567), drug offences (3142) and drunkenness (2023).

Mr Ryan acknowledged the statistics on the Sunshine Coast.

“Raw crime data shows that reported offences are up for some crime categories, and in fact down in some others, in the Sunshine Coast and across the state,” he said.

“This data also reflects changes made in the recording of some of those crime categories (eg domestic violence being included in assault category).”

“That data, when analysed comprehensively, helps inform police response.”

“The government has increased supports for victims of crime and enshrined a voice for victims to guide further responses and reforms.”

“We have made it clear that responding to crime and supporting community safety is one of the highest priorities of the government, which is why our government will continue to boost police resources.

“There are over 500 recruits in the Queensland Police Academies, and close to 1800 applicants in the pipeline.”

A render of the Caloundra Police Station.

He said the Strengthening Community Safety Act, which includes tougher conditions for young offenders, had yielded positive results since coming into effect in March.

Statewide, hundreds of young offenders have been convicted of breach of bail condition, the new unlawful use of motor vehicle circumstances of aggravation and the new social media unlawful use of motor vehicle circumstance of aggravation.

“Our government will not take a backwards step when it comes to community safety and will continue to take the advice of the QPS when it comes to further initiatives and strategies requiring support,” he said.

The Member for Caloundra, Labor’s Jason Hunt, said the data showed crime rates were “stable” during the past decade but said more could be done.

“Our government knows there is always more we can do,” he said.

“That’s why we’ve introduced new laws to support victims of crime and give police the tools they need to hold offenders to account. Those laws are already beginning to work.”

The sheer number of crimes has increased but the rate of crime (per 100,000 people) has remained steady during the past 10 years.

He said more resources were available and on the way to the Sunshine Coast.

“Locally, our government has secured extra police for the Caloundra station, installed five number plate recognition cameras around the Sunshine Coast and we are building an enormous emergency services precinct in Caloundra that will include a very large new police station, giving Caloundra two police stations for the first time ever,” he said.

“We’ve increased police numbers in this state and continue to work with the QPS to give them the tools to get better outcomes for our community.”

Local journalists supporting local people. Help keep independent and fair Sunshine Coast news coming by subscribing to our FREE daily news feed. All it requires is your name and email at the bottom of this article.

[scn_go_back_button] Return Home

Subscribe to SCN’s daily news email

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.