Drugs at heart of crime crisis, Woodley says

ANTI-drugs campaigner Warren Woodley attributes Tamworth’s worsening crime statistics to an increase in drug use.

He says between 50 and 60 per cent of the crime being committed in Tamworth would have some connection to drugs and has drawn parallels to crime rates in the 1990s.

Back then, he said, there was a big push to rid the city of some of its drug problems and as a result the crime statistics became more palatable.

Mr Woodley is again calling on the community to address the drug use issue saying if it is addressed it will result in significant benefits for the city.

“We are going down a road to nowhere unless we, as a community, pull together to stop drug use and in doing so, protect our youth and halve our crime rate,” he said.

Back in December 2010 when the city was experiencing an escalation in its crime rate, police attributed the problem to drugs.

In October and November 2010 Tamworth recorded 103 break-ins and attempted break-ins to homes and businesses, 151 reports of malicious damage, 23 cars thefts in October and 24 in November.

A growing drug trade was fuelling the rise in crime rates back then.

“We’re fairly convinced that a lot of this (crime) is drug-driven,” Oxley Local Area commander Superintendent Clint Pheeney said in The Northern Daily Leader on December 4, 2010.

“It’s certainly to a scale which requires us to ramp up our resources,” he added.

In response to the 2010 crime explosion police, at a media conference, assured the community they were pulling out all their resources to combat the spate of break-ins and malicious damage offences, saying more police resources were on the way to deal with the problem.

Superintendent Pheeney said then he was confident additional police resources would help address the issue and that with the community’s help police could continue to drive down crime by identifying offenders and putting them before the courts.

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