Northam residents have called for authorities to lift the information blackout surrounding the escape of five detainees from detention at the weekend as search efforts remain on standby.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is still refusing to reveal how five Vietnamese asylum seekers escaped and yesterday could offer no assurances to the public the centre was now secure.
"The investigation into the circumstances of this incident are ongoing and police will respond as needed," the department said.
In Spencers Brook, about 10km from the detention centre, long-time resident Pat Virgin said she only heard about the breakout from the media and other residents.
"I don't know what they (authorities) are doing," she said. "I haven't even seen a police car here, or (have) anyone knock on my door, or a telephone call from any authoritative person asking anything."
She did not think the escapees would be dangerous but some people - such as those with children - might be more on the lookout.
"They say that they're not dangerous, but if they were feeling desperate, who can gauge what desperate people do," she said.
Lou Dimasi, who owns a business which backs on to the centre, said he did not hear about the Saturday night breakout until Monday when security firm Serco - which runs the facility - sent an employee to tell him.
Some Northam residents who spoke to _The West Australian _ believe one detainee had been caught. One thought up to 15 people busted out of the facility.
Liberal candidate for the Federal seat of Pearce, Christian Porter, yesterday condemned the department for failing to notify the community about the escape.
"The idea that the shire president - who has been in general terms a supporter of the facility - found out about the escapes through the media and wasn't personally and swiftly notified by the Department of Immigration is very shabby treatment of him and, by extension, the community," Mr Porter said.He called on the department to release details of the detainees.