Too often, people in our community who are the victims of crime, whether motivated by prejudice or not, fail to report that crime to police.
We know from numerous local and international research that only about 20 percent of prejudice-motivated crime is reported so it’s not difficult to understand why some people might target the gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and intersex communities.
Many offenders choose their victims carefully, looking for the easy or ‘vulnerable’ target. Try for a moment to get into the mind of an offender. Doesn’t it makes sense to choose the easiest target?
For instance, if you were looking for someone to steal cash and property from, you are more likely to choose the lone person walking down a dark street and not the person walking down a
well-lit and crowded street.
Similarly, you would be more likely to pick on a person who you think wouldn’t report a crime than a person who you think would. Sadly this is the very reason why some people target our LGBTI communities.
If you don’t report a crime, it is likely the offender will get away with it. They are also more likely to go on and commit other offences, free to choose their next target. If that person doesn’t make a report, they can move on to the next, and the next, and so on.
Nobody wants to be the victim of a crime. When an offender is free to commit further offences, you or someone you know could be the next victim. We all have a responsibility to ensure we live in a safe environment and Victoria Police welcomes community support.
If you report a crime, we can respond and hopefully prevent that person from reoffending as well as sending a message that LGBTI community members refuse to be victims. It is the
responsibility of all of us, not just victims of crime.
Unfortunately we live in an age where interfering in other people’s business can sometimes put us at risk. But if you witness something and do nothing, the offender could get away with it.
I’m not asking you to do anything that would put you in danger but there are things you can do without putting yourself at risk. You can call 000 without identifying yourself. Most of us have a smartphone with a built-in camera. If it is safe, you can take a photo or video of an offender, a vehicle or incident which can be uploaded on to the Crime Stoppers website from your phone.
It doesn’t take much and it’s so easy to do.
Police respond to reported offences. More importantly, we try to act to prevent crime from occurring. We can do this better when we receive valuable information from the community. You might have the information we desperately need to solve a crime. Police are limited to the number of members they have on duty or on patrol at any particular time.
Isn’t it time we all become the eyes and ears that help make Victoria a safe place to live?
By SENIOR CONSTABLE GABRIELLE TYACKE, Victoria Police GLLO Unit