Crime wave: Police warn Port Douglas

Wednesday March 4 2015, 3:20pm

Port Douglas police urging residents to securely lock their houses and keep their car keys out of view as a wave of house break-ins and car thefts spreads north from Cairns. 

A group of male youths from Cairns’s southern suburbs and Yarrabah are believed to be the main force behind the spree, exploiting lax security in properties throughout the Northern Beaches and Port Douglas. 

Port Douglas police sergeant Damian Meadows said that there had been a spike in house break-ins and car thefts in town. 

Three properties in Solander Boulevard and Selena have been broken into, with an expensive gold Audi sedan stolen from one, with the thieves fleeing from police behind the wheel.

“We’ve seen 10 break-and-enters and five incidents of unlawful use of a motor vehicle since the year began just here in Port, which is high, really high,” Sgt Meadows said. 

He urged residents to ‘beef up security’ and importantly get into the habit of storing their car keys somewhere out of sight. 

“We all do it - we get home and toss the keys on the counter,” Sgt Meadows said. 

“What’s happening is these offenders will walk into the house, grab the keys and jump in the car for a joyride. Occasionally they’ll take stuff out of the house if they have the time.

“They are entering houses sometimes by removing louvres but mostly by simply walking in through the door. 

“Something that happens is you pop out of the house for a couple of minutes, come back, sit down and wonder where your TV is - it’s in the back seat of your car, headed south. 

“What we’re asking people to do is to place their keys somewhere only they and their family know and won’t stand out to someone just walking into the house.”

Overall in the Cairns area more than 50 houses have been broken into and 20 cars have been stolen in the last 10 days.

Police have identified at least one perpetrator through high-quality surveillance footage from one house. 

A special task force has been formed by police in Cairns to target the thieves, with an operation planned to cover the entire Far North Queensland policing district from Cardwell to the Torres Strait.