Game of chance: Risking arrest just for the thrill of it

THE adrenaline rush young thieves get from breaking in and entering your home, either while you’re asleep or out for the day, is what’s driving up the city’s crime levels. 

At a crisis meeting between member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson, Tamworth mayor Col Murray and Oxley Local Area Command crime manager Phil O’Reilly late on Thursday, designed to delve into the issues causing the city’s recent crime spikes, it was revealed a group of “known”, local, young people who get a “thrill” out of it, and see the invasion of residents’ privacy as “a game” are responsible for the increased number of break-ins in the city.

Mr Anderson said it became evident throughout Thursday’s meeting police were dealing with a “new crime environment”. 

“Traditional problems like alcohol fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour are still there,” he said. 

“But more concerning is the fact police know young people, stealthily breaking into homes in the middle of the night, are doing it for fun.”

Mr Anderson said it had been revealed during the meeting police believe they know who is responsible for the bulk of the crimes and had enacted a number of operations in an attempt to catch them in the act. 

“Yes, it’s frightening,” Mr Anderson said. 

“Effectively it’s like fighting an invisible crime, because the people responsible are getting smarter.”

He issued a strong warning to them that soon the game would be up. 

“While you think you won’t be caught, you will be and when you are the consequences won’t be pretty, the fun will come to an abrupt end,” he said. 

Mr Anderson said police were committed to turning those responsible “upside-down when caught” and that residents could rest assured the culprits would “see the full force of the law.”

“In the interim, residents can be reassured local police have established a number of initiatives, in particular through recently re-introduced Target Action Group (TAG), that are working,” he said. 

Recently additional officers were added to the unit, which now consists of seven officers. 

“Moving forward additional supports such as a drug unit and a dog squad based in the city will be pushed for to further add to those resources,” he said. 

That will be done through continued meetings with Attorney General Greg Smith, police minister Michael Gallacher and a request for housing minister Pru Goward to come to Tamworth. 

“Obviously the conversations around juvenile justice need to continue, as do the push for those additional police resources,” Mr Anderson said.

“We hope Pru Goward can come to Tamworth too and some meetings can be arranged to get a better idea of the situation surrounding public housing and people movements.”

Cr Col Murray said he too was confident the police had mechanisms in place to fight the crime. 

“I’m confident the results of the TAG operations that are ongoing will have led to a drop when the BOCSAR statistics are released again,” he said. 

Following the meeting Cr Murray will, on behalf of council, help to review the local crime prevention plan and will push forward discussion about increased CCTV and portable infra -red cameras.

“What is still evident is that the police are doing all they can and we as a community need to keep working together on this,” he said. 

“I’m frustrated and I know everyone else is too.

“I would encourage residents to do everything they can to support the police; report crime and suspicious behaviour, in the short term if we can keep pushing for a long-term solution working with all of the right agencies we will get there.”

A date for another meeting between the trio has not been set but both Mr Anderson and Cr Murray said residents could be reassured this was the start of another process to tackle crime, not the conclusion. 

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