Youth crime is rampant – Central Queensland Today

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Dingo Roadhouse and Dingo Hotel-Motel owner Darren Bauman told Channel Nine’s Today Show how “out of control” youth crime was in his area during an interview last week. Images: Channel Nine

By Karen Simmons

Carjackings, ramming cars, break and enters, armed offenders, hospitalized staff – that’s not what life should be like for businesses in the quiet country towns along the Capricorn Highway.

Darren Bauman, owner of the Dingo Hotel Motel and Dingo Roadhouse, raised concerns about youth crime in an interview on a TV breakfast show last week.

Mr Bauman confirmed to us that he was not closing or selling, but he clarified that he had to temporarily close the hotel for 18 months several years ago due to a flood of alleged juvenile break-ins .

“We have had over 17 burglaries in recent years and have only reopened the hotel at limited capacity,” Mr Bauman said.

“Our losses exceed $100,000 personally and $200,000 for the company, with stock losses and fuel leaks from offenders in stolen vehicles.

“But it’s not just us, it’s been all along Bluff, Dingo, Duaringa, Westwood Hotel and even Wowan.”

The long-time owner of the Dingo business has shared disturbing stories that he and his staff have experienced over the years.

“I’ve had staff hospitalized after being run over or rammed by youths in stolen vehicles,” Mr Bauman said.

“Woorabinda Police phoned us one night and told staff directly that a car was about to drive into your truck stop driveway – don’t give them fuel.

“She (staff member) didn’t listen to them and let them fill up.

“We only later discovered that this car contained firearms.”

Mr. Bauman said police alerts were issued almost daily, sometimes several times a day.

“We have images of young people loading a pallet and a half of beer into a Prado. How they fit it all in there is beyond me – we were stunned.

Mr. Bauman described a carjacking incident that happened recently right in front of him and his staff.

“They pulled up in the back here, we were called by the police and identified the vehicle and kept an eye on them,” Mr Bauman recalled.

“The car was obscured by trees, then one jumps out, runs across the paddock, then we see a Landcruiser flying across the paddock and a woman running after it.

“She had six week old puppies in the car and was trying to find them dumped in the paddock.”

Mr Bauman believes the police are doing a fantastic job, but his hands are tied when changes were made to the Youth Justice Act in 2019.

“Under the Youth Justice Act, these young people must be released immediately.

“An accusation without consequence is useless. It is about protecting the guilty, not the innocent.

Mr Bauman said they had to increase their security tenfold, but were told that if they got a guard dog to defend their property, it would be considered malicious intent.

“Our CCTV footage is useless – we see it, upload it and it’s just released and comes back every six weeks or so.”

“The problem is that it’s the same damn kids every time.

“Some of these kids are in care, and I wouldn’t like to see them locked up, but under the current conditions we are creating career criminals.

“They need to start rehabilitating first-time offenders early.

“There must be consequences for actions, but imprisonment is not the answer.

“I grew up with a lot of families here and in Woori and they are as upset as we are with the justice system.

“But there are people in the community who are not ready to talk about it.

“And those are things that keep falling on deaf ears in Brisbane – the inaction is deafening.”

Mr Bauman said he spoke to Gregory MP Lachlan Millar, who was pursuing the matter for the companies involved.

Last month, Shadow Police and Corrections Minister Dale Last called on the state government to listen to more communities in Queensland struggling with rising youth crime.

Mr Last said the state government needed to bring solutions to the table.

“Regional communities … are torn apart by the actions of these juvenile offenders,” Mr. Last said.

“The effects of juvenile delinquency reverberate throughout our community and hurt families and business owners who are paying more for their insurance premiums in the midst of a cost of living crisis. »

Liberal Senator Matt Canavan also recently weighed in on the issue in his weekly opinion column, saying people shouldn’t have to take the law into their own hands.

“Providing a safe environment for families is a fundamental task of our state government,” he said.

“Someone told me how young miners laughed at the idea of ​​being arrested, knowing that they only risked a slap on the wrist.

“Another couple had their car stolen at 2am and the attackers livestreamed it on Snapchat. Even with this self-incriminating evidence, they are not behind bars.

Since 2019, robberies in central Queensland have increased by 80%.

“What changed in 2019? Senator Canavan continues.

“In 2019, the Queensland Government amended the Juvenile Justice Act.

“In their own words, these changes were ‘intended to remove legislative barriers to allow young people to obtain bail.’

“The changes told judges that the principle should be ‘detention as a last resort’ and that the ‘bail decision-making framework’ incorporated an ‘explicit presumption in favor of release’.

Last year the Queensland government made changes to the law and now the ‘presumption in favor of release’ can be overridden for serious offences.

“If there is strong evidence that a defendant committed a crime, say for example they broadcast the crime on their own Snapchat account, bail should be denied.

“Otherwise, the incentives are all wrong.

“We need to support our police with tougher laws that make crime pay again.

“How frustrating it must be for our police to have to re-arrest the same people over and over again, only to see Labour’s catch and release approach force them to start all over again.”

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