Rise in crime demoralises Gold Coast community
Crime is on the rise on the Gold Coast with more than 100 incidents reported in the last six months. We delve into the statistics surrounding coastal crime and how the community has been affected.
- There are fears increased crime on the Gold Coast will affect occupancy numbers at accommodation houses like Oceanside Resort in Tugun.
Crime spike tarnishes tourism industry
With its white sandy beaches, towering skyscrapers, theme parks and casino, the Gold Coast has always been a popular coastal destination for tourists.
But a recent spike in crime has accommodation houses worried occupancy numbers will be affected by the negative publicity.
The Courier-Mail recently investigated the links between organised crime and bikie clubs on the Gold Coast.
Karen Kearney is both manager and resident at Oceanside Resort in Tugun and fears reports of heightened criminal activity will deter holidaymakers.
“In this industry, to say that there is an increase [in crime] would tarnish our reputation, as a holiday destination, that is safe, designed for families, designed for people to play with,” she said.
“It does concern us that if we are tarnished with that brush then people may not choose to come to the Gold Coast and instead choose other coastal destinations.”
Surfers Paradise councilor and mayoral candidate Susie Douglas said the portrayal of the Gold Coast as a hotspot for crime was both damaging and demoralising for the community.
However, Cr Douglas believes the continued reporting on crime plays an important role in decreasing it.
“I think that is has been reported on in a fair and objective way certainly, and I think that it is important that this reporting keeps happening, it shakes us all up a lot when it happens, and it actually moves us to make a difference towards making it better,” she said.
Gold Coast Tourism director of communication and marketing Ben Pole also acknowledged the importance of and problems posed by media coverage of crime in the area, for both the community and tourism industry.
“Publicity is a key communication channel, whether that’s mainstream media, or other media, social media included,” he said.
“We use publicity to promote the positive message of the Gold Coast and the Gold Coast tourism industry, and as we are all aware, it’s not always good news and that comes through those channels… There is bad publicity, bad things do happen.
“The stupid actions of a small few that end up in the newspapers, whether that be serious crime or unsociable behavior, whatever it might be, really undoes a lot of that good work, or undermines all of that good work that real business and positive businesses are out there trying to promote.”
Cr Douglas said areas where there are high rates of generational unemployment and poverty present as well as those renowned for their nightlife scene, such as her electorate Surfers Paradise, require increasing police and governmental attention.
“I think that the police have a very difficult task, there is a lot of drug and bikie activity,” she said.
“I think that it’s really difficult to create schemes and get into it, it always has been here. That’s where so many problems lie, within that subculture.”
Ms Kearney said residents were aware of a bikie culture in Tugun.
“You have the local Bikies down here, the Finks. They’re in the area, we know what they look like, but they keep to themselves.”