The disturbing escalation in the seriousness of the home break-ins which have been occurring in Tamworth for too long should intensify the community’s efforts for greater action to make our city safer.
An unwelcome twist to the already infuriating situation occurred this week when a young man who had broken into a South Tamworth home made threats and sexual innuendos to its
81-year-old female resident; this should have alarm bells ringing.
Also, the fact that elderly women living alone are the victims of many of the break-ins shows that the vulnerable in our community are being targeted by intruders whose actions could result in more serious crimes.
Tamworth’s appalling and unacceptable crime rate has been in the community’s focus for more than 18 months now.
This begs a number of questions which are looking for answers.
If the police are catching the offenders and the judicial system is jailing them why aren’t we seeing a reduction in the rate of crime?
With additional police officers and resources issued to the Oxley Local Area Command why is the crime epidemic continuing?
Homes continue to get broken into, cars continue to get stolen and personal property continues to get stolen. Older people in the community are now frightened about their own security and the security of their personal property.
Does this mean when one lot of crooks are arrested, charged and punished, another lot appears to take their place?
If this is the case, where are they coming from?
This unsavoury situation in our city is not just a policing issue, although police have a very important role to play in keeping the community safe.
There are serious social issues at play here which stretch across many areas of society.
This community has identified previously some of the contributing factors to the crime wave, including undesirable people being moved to the area to occupy public housing
vacancies, and a lack of attention to young people, mainly young teenagers who fail to go to school and who
associate with a criminal element and cause trouble.
If extra police resources are not fixing the problem, then we have to look elsewhere for answers.
What Tamworth needs in this situation is a whole-of-government approach. Leaving it just to the police is simply not working.
We need to continue to press the government for action, inviting all the relevant departments to the table.
As this unacceptable situation drags on, with no signs yet of resolution, Tamworth’s fine reputation is being sullied, and it is not the community’s fault.
If we can’t fix the problem, who can?