Ongoing teenage crime committed in regional South Australia is "relatively consistent"

ADVICE: SA Police offer tips in response to reports in regional South Australia involving young people this school holiday break. Photo: File
ADVICE: SA Police offer tips in response to reports in regional South Australia involving young people this school holiday break. Photo: File

Over half the state's regional police service areas have recorded one or more reports involving youths over the summer break, with further reports of thefts occurring at schools.

The publicly dedicated SA Police website shows that Local Service Areas of Yorke Mid North and Far North each recorded one report of an incident allegedly involving a young person between December 2020 to now.

The Barossa zone, which also involves Gawler, recorded three incidents while the Eyre and Western area registered two incidents involving a handful of teenagers aged between 13 and 15 years.

Yet despite these reported incidents, according to SA Police spokesperson, youth offending is "relatively consistent" in regional South Australia.

"It is not possible to determine if crime rates increase or decrease specifically during school holidays because there are many factors which impact on crime," the spokesperson told Australian Community Media.

Police did not highlight the factors.

But as a direct response, they offered tips for schools and the public which the authorities say can help prevent incidents at state schools safe over the break.

School safety:

Padlock/secure industrial and bulk recycling bins away from buildings.

Trim trees, particularly if they are overhanging buildings and sheds as these can be a potential fire hazard and block an observer's line of vision.

Check external security lighting is working and in good repair.

Secure all doors and windows before leaving the premises.

Consult with neighbours and ask them to report to police on 131 444 if they notice anything suspicious at the site. Also ensure this information is posted on school noticeboards.

Public request:

  • It is important to be vigilant during school holidays.
  • Any unusual behaviour noticed on school grounds should be reported to police.
  • If you hear unusual noises such as glass breaking or banging noises this may mean someone is up to no good.
  • Look for unusual vehicles parked at a school on weekends or during holidays.
  • Watch for groups 'hanging around' on school grounds - this should not happen and can be one of the starting points for crime to occur

"Through the police and the community working together, we can reduce crime in and around our schools," the spokesperson added.

Reported incidents, December 2020-January 2021

Barossa

On January 14, the Barossa Crime Investigation Branch reported an Evanston male youth for possessing prescribed equipment.

On December 8, Nuriootpa Police reported a teenage boy for assault.

On December 29 a female jogger was robbed of her smart watch at Gawler South.

About 1.40pm the woman was jogging on a track along Lawrence Avenue when she was approached by a young male. He threatened her with a small knife and stole her Garmin fitness watch, with a teal silicone band.

He was last seen walking south towards Fourteenth Street. The victim was not physically injured during the robbery.

The suspect is described as aged 16-17 years, of Caucasian appearance, 172 cm tall, wearing a long sleeved black hoodie with white writing across the front and dark sunglasses.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at www.crimestopperssa.com.au

Eyre and Western

Two teenage boys will face court following a series of break-ins in Ceduna.

During the early hours of Friday, January 8 a number of sheds and vehicles were broken into and various items including mobile phones, bikes, money and car keys were stolen.

A number of residential homes were also broken into and items were stolen.

One of the stolen phones had the 'find my iphone' app which led police to a home. Patrols allegedly located a number of stolen items.

The two Ceduna youths aged 14 and 15 were arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated serious criminal trespass, five counts of theft, two counts of illegal interference and one count of property damage. They were bailed to appear in the Ceduna Magistrates Court on February 22.

Furthermore, six teenagers have been arrested after an incident in Ceduna on January 14.

It will be alleged that about 7.25pm, police attended a Ceduna address in relation to a large disturbance, during which a group of youths had thrown large rocks at people and towards a house. A car was damaged, and police identified five suspects involved in the incident.

About 9pm on the same day, Ceduna Police attended a separate address and located all five suspects. Checks revealed that the five suspects and another teenager were all also wanted in relation to a theft that had occurred on Sunday, January 10.

The male suspects, ranging in age from 13 to 15 years old, were arrested and charged with aggravated affray, aggravated assault, property damage and throw missile.

They were also interviewed and charged in relation to the theft matter.

All six suspects were granted bail and are due to appear in the Ceduna Youth Court in the coming months.

Yorke Mid North

Two teenagers were reported after they allegedly broke into the Peterborough High School on January 8.

Police will allege just before 5pm, the two local teenagers, forced a sliding door to the school library and stole three Ipads, three basketballs and a small amount of cash.

Peterborough police located the stolen property nearby.

A 19-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, both from Peterborough, were reported for serious criminal trespass and theft. They are expected to appear in court at a later date.

Far North

A youth will face court after attempting to evade police while driving unlicensed in Port Augusta.

Just after 6pm December 28 police attempted to stop a car on McIntosh Crescent where the vehicle failed to stop. Patrols did not pursue the car but followed it from a distance.

Spikes were successfully deployed on Tassie Street and the car came to a stop of Wills Street.

The driver was arrested and his car was searched, cannabis and a pipe was located.

The 17-year-old driver from Port Augusta was arrested and charged with driving unlicensed, driving dangerously to escape police pursuit and possess cannabis and equipment.

He was bailed to appear in the Port Augusta Youth Court on January 3.

Further reports

Meanwhile, unknown opportunistic thieves targeted a few of the state's regional school yards with police investigations continuing.

Between December 22 and January 3 multiple areas of a school were damaged on Mildred Street at Kapunda.

On January 3, security at a Gawler school located two smashed windows to a building.

Between January 4 and 8 unknown persons stole two LPG gas bottles from a school in Gawler.

Report suspicious behaviour

Anyone who witnesses any suspicious behaviour or criminal activity occurring at a school property, day or night, is urged to call police immediately on 131 444.

Police say timely reporting assists in locating offenders and preventing further crime from occurring.