Monday, 16 March 2009

Drugs & Crime ... Next Suburb Please

Some articles you read deserve serious head shaking and this is one of them. Here we have the Sunshine Residents Association worried that crime has risen locally because of a zero tolerance policy on crime and drugs in the adjoining suburb of Footscray. And their solution? - do the same in Sunshine and send the drugs and crime to the next suburb. Someone should tell Darlene Reilly from the Sunshine Residents Association that if you squeeze a balloon in one spot it bulges in another. Oh, she already knows that. Pffft, who cares then, squeeze away.
Sunshine Residents Urge Zero Tolerance Approach To Crime ABC News March 2009 Residents held a rally at Sunshine Station last night, to voice their concerns about violence in the Melbourne suburb. Members of the Sunshine Residents Association say violent crime is up in their area, and something needs to be done about it. The association's Darlene Reilly says there has been an increase in the number of attacks and the intensity of the violence over the past year. She says things have deteriorated since Footscray brought in zero tolerance for crime, drugs and inappropriate behaviour. "We've seen what's happened is that's been great for their community, but it's just moved everything up the line," she said. "It's just come up the railway line and now we have it here and I think that we need to have a zero tolerance, but we need the police force, we need the numbers, we need the boys in blue on the street." Inspector Bill Mathers says police are doing what they can to help "We do have some problems with the community and crime and we're trying to address those," he said. "We've had a slight increase in robberies and armed robberies, we've had a slight decrease in assaults, so some of the things we're doing's working, but we realise there's a long way to go."


B said...

Zero tolerance policing has not worked in Footscray. No doubt it will not work in Sunshine either.

Police recently conducted a two week operation in Footscray that targeted trafficking in a well known "hot spot" - to show for it they seized 14 grams of meth and 3 grams of heroin. Not really enough to halt the drug trade on the street. All is back to normal in the West.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks B.

I bet they still declared they were cleaning up the streets though.

Gledwood said...

prostitutes, drugs and crime should ALWAYS be squeezed to the next suburb from me!

ps did I tell you I'm thinking of getting a job as an MP??

thr said...

Good post, Terry.

The crackdown on drug-related crime in Footscray initially reduced some of the more visible aspects of it. In 2000 and 2001, there were lots of deals in the streets of Footscray, and you could see people injecting in broad daylight in back-alleys.
Inadvertantly, however, the drug problem expanded into more suburban areas as a result of the crackdown. Those who know Melbourne will know that, in the west, at least, drugs moved from Footscray to Sunshine, Deer Park, St Albans, etc. There's a similar story in other parts of Melbourne, too. Ironically, having a flourishing drug trade in places like Footscray and Collingwood possibly kept it out of other areas.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks G.
I will vote for you.

Thanks THR
You're right. There were some well known hotspots in Footscray until the shop owners got sick of the dealers. Bit by bit it moved out to the nearby suburbs.

The same with Springvale in Melbourne. The police celebrated "cleaning up" Springvale and suddenly Dandenong was the local hotspot.


Anonymous said...

Is there any good evidence which shows drugs moved to Sunshine, St Albans and Deer Park after crackdowns in Footscray? As far as I know the squeeze directed users into the back streets of Footscray and closer into the city.

I have heard the Footscray-to-Sunshine theory numerous times by community members, the media, academics etc - but never from one of the areas drug users. I can't help but wonder where it came from.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon.
I have heard from a few Footscray users that said some dealers went out a few suburbs. I heard the same about Springvale in Melbourne and Cabramatta in Sydney where the dealers did the same.

Maybe it was the change when dealers started giving out mobile phone numbers and to be safe they avoided Footscray or the usual hotspot. I have also personally seen dealers in surrounding suburbs to the established hotspots ... but that was around 2000-2002.

Anonymous said...

well i think footscray is fool of drugs im a user myself its not that the dealers have moved on or gone to a new town its that they have moved down back streets. and i go to footscray alot and there is heaps of people that i can get it from and then i get there number and meat them some were else in footscray were not so many people r yeah there is alot of drug dealers gone to new towns like sunshine and deerpark but there always gunna be more in footscray and all them other places all i can say is it is never gunna change so thats that?

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon. for sharing that.

Anonymous said...

Maybe drugs are in EVERY suburb! It is just more visible in the police states (suburbs!) Of course excessive policing is going to reveal that people have drugs (do a street sweep on any Melbourne street & see what happens)... and people can be poor, homelessness, unable to get any benefits, stigmatised & using drugs to escape a life of misery.... Welcome drugs & crime to pay for it. Rocket science? Maybe cut them some slack and crime will go down.