Murder. Sex crimes. Drug trafficking. They have committed some of the most gruesome and serious crimes in Australia. But they could be anywhere. The problem is they are fugitives — on the run loose in our own communities.
Police and Crime Stoppers have released details and images of Australia’s 18 most elusive criminals and suspects. They are being sought by authorities on charges ranging from murder to sex crimes as part of an annual fugitive manhunt.
Topping the list is Graham Gene Potter, a notorious underworld figure with links to drug importation and murder charges. He fled from the police five years ago.
Last year seven arrests were made as a result of the nationwide manhunt, according to Samantha Hunter, the chief of Crime Stoppers Victoria, in an interview with The Australian.
“It’s a nationwide manhunt and we’re looking for these people who may be in your local communities,” Commissioner Hunter said.
New South Wales Assistant Commissioner Peter Barrie said police in each state were “working together” to hunt the fugitives down.
Now, it is only safe to ask — do the police need more power to combat those who might pose a threat to us?
Concern for our safety is only a natural response to the recent tragic events, such as the Sydney siege.
There will always be policy debates on the use of criminal justice resources in order to police such criminal acts.
But typically missing from this debate is the most important influence on crime – the efforts of households and businesses to prevent crimes.
Are we, as citizens, doing enough to assist authorities in solving crimes?
Commissioner Barrie has said that social media is continuing to be a “powerful communication tool.”
By sharing pictures and information through sites as Facebook and Twitter, we could bring greater social awareness of suspects of such crimes.
Police are hoping the public may again be able to help identify the most-wanted fugitives.
These suspects however, are dangerous and potentially armed.
“We’re not asking for individuals to apprehend them. We’re asking community members, if they do know where these fugitives are, to contact Crime Stoppers,” Victoria’s Assistant Police Commissioner, Steven Fontana said to The ABC.
A reward of up to $1,000 is offered for information that leads to the arrest of a fugitive.
The challenge for Australia now is to understand that no amount of police power will stop rare acts of violence as murder and drug trafficking.
What we “want” is social awareness and financial support for our police task forces. We need to learn to exercise omnipresence yet ‘awareness’ in exchange for our security and our family’s security.
If you know the whereabouts of any of the fugitives, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.