Police Beat – Protecting property and drone do’s and don’ts

Seeking inspiration for the police article this month I decided to review some of my previous efforts for ideas. As I strolled down memory lane it became clear to me that certain topics kept coming up again and again, article after article.

One such topic was ‘property security’.  It was a problem when I arrived in Rainbow Beach over ten years ago, and it’s still a problem now.

In recent years, local police have tried hard to reduce property crime, implementing strategies such as targeting known property offenders, handing out security leaflets, educating campers, newspaper articles, proactive patrols etc, etc. Ultimately, we can only do so much, because the most effective weapon against property crime is you!

The reason I say this is because a high percentage of property crime is the result of poor security by the owner. For example, last financial year in the Central Police Region (which we’re a part of), over 30 per cent of the vehicles that were stolen, or broken into, were left unlocked (some with the keys inside).

I would argue that the percentage is even higher here on the Cooloola Coast, where there has always been a relaxed holiday atmosphere leading to lax attitudes about property security – especially in the numerous camping areas.

By the time you read this article we will be about halfway through a four-week program focussed on reducing property crime here in the Central Police Region. Mick and I will be out doing our part, but the success of this program depends on you.

The good news is that it’s not hard, it just requires a change in thinking. The old idea that it won’t happen in Rainbow Beach is a thing of the past. It will happen, it’s just a matter of time. So ‘LOCK IT OR LOSE IT’.

While I’m on the subject of property crime, a quick reminder about found property. As much as you may want to, you can’t just keep any item you find. Found property of value must be handed in to the police, who will then try to find the owner.

If we can’t (find the owner), then you may be able to claim the property. However, if you make no attempt to hand in a found item of value, you risk being charged with stealing.

Similarly, a car that’s become stuck down on Mudlo Rocks doesn’t automatically become your local spare parts shop. Resist the urge to remove items from the vehicle – that’s stealing too.

Last month I fielded a number of complaints / inquiries about drones, or ‘remotely piloted aircraft’ (RPA). Drone technology has advanced to the point where it is now both affordable and readily available, and most have some kind of recording capability.

I have seen a few drones in action and what they can do is amazing. What some people do not realise is that there are safety rules associated with the recreational use of drones.  These are outlined in the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 101.  They include:

  • You must be able to see the RPA with your own eyes (rather than through first-person-view [FPV, binoculars, telescopes]) at all times
  • You must not fly closer than 30 metres to vehicles, boats, buildings or people
  • You must not fly over populous areas such as beaches, heavily populated parks, or sports ovals while they are in use
  • No night flying.

It is also important to respect personal privacy – don’t record or photograph people without their consent. If you have any questions about flying your drone, or want to see the full list of safety rules, check the Civil Aviation Safety Authority website at casa.gov.au/rpa.

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