Crime increase unacceptable

Can anyone tell the Tamworth community when it can expect a decline in its appalling crime statistics?

Described as a “disgrace” by the mayor of Tamworth Regional Council and “alarming” by the member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson, the statistics show a spiralling crime rate heading in the wrong direction.

In view of the mounting community frustration over an ongoing spate of break-and-enters and car thefts and other crimes, how is the problem going to be brought under control?

Cr Murray and Mr Anderson have been working on addressing this problem collaboratively for more than a year. The community does not see what is being done behind closed doors, and in particular, the many meetings with government representatives. Both have a well-worn track to the doors of the Attorney-General and the Police Minister, as well as the Premier, Mr O’Farrell. They have all been accommodating.

There is another reality here and that is Tamworth’s crime rate has been increasing since 2009.

So why is it, three years on, that the statistics have not improved and the problems the community is complaining about have not been satisfactorily resolved?

It is accepted crime cannot be abolished from where we live. But why are the incidents of crime increasing?

Answering that question is the key to solving the problem.

Is it, as the mayor has said – home- grown crime or has it been imported? What are the social issues contributing to the problem? And what are the police doing – or not doing – to achieve better outcomes?

The superintendent of the Oxley Local Area Command said on Facebook yesterday in response to the latest statistics from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research that newspaper reports of statistics can be misleading, highlighting that while some of the percentage increases were high, the actual incidents involved small numbers.

But the fact remains that Tamworth has recorded increases in 13 of the 17 main crime categories. Break-ins have jumped from 594 to 841. Motor vehicle theft has jumped from 155 to 178. The fact the crime rate is increasing and not falling is not good enough!

Superintendent Pheeney says the police are not responsible for the social problems contributing to the crime rate. He’s right there, but what are the police doing to break the back of this problem? Is the arrest rate up? And why, if the crooks are being caught and dealt with by the judicial system, are the numbers still rising?

Where are the answers?

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