Looking at the bigger picture

OPINION

After the release of the latest crime data last month, it’s been more often than not that I’ve heard the response, “it’s not surprising for Bacchus Marsh”. There’s stigma surrounding most towns in the West in terms of crime, however it’s just this year that I’ve noticed more negativity towards Bacchus Marsh than ever.

Moorabool’s crime rate has increased more than 16 per cent in just one year. Drug dealing and trafficking is up by 76 per cent and breaches of orders a whopping 161 per cent.

But who’s to blame? A lack of police presence or does this region just breed crime?

Well, neither.

Bacchus Marsh inspector Brendan McCrory spoke to me about the increased statistics, and there is a much bigger picture here.

You can’t deny the government’s strong emphasis on the war against illicit drugs and domestic violence. There’s messages on the back of the bus as you wait at a red traffic light, on page three of the paper as you enjoy your morning coffee, and during the ad-break of the Friday night footy.

A stand has without a doubt been taken, and this increase in statistics proves that it’s working.

In early May, the Crime Stoppers’ Dob in a Dealer Campaign helped shut down a $36,000 hydroponic grow house in Bacchus Marsh.

There was a 100 per cent increase in drug-related reports received during the campaign, and a 300 per cent increase in information relating to amphetamines.

Sure, the number of drug-related crimes throughout Moorabool has evidently grown, but the number can only increase if it is being reported.

Similarly, breaches of orders, in particular those relating to domestic violence issues, are one of the most prominent cases seen throughout the local court system.

There has been an excessive amount of media coverage surrounding the issue, and 24-hour helpline and report services have been set up across the country.

We’ve always known that these issues exist, but community members are now more disposed to report them.

Our tolerance has long been left behind.

Moorabool, like any other region across the nation, is always going to be victim to crime; but when statistics rise, let us not jump to the conclusion that this region is becoming more dangerous, but look at the bigger picture and understand that these campaigns are working and the more we report these issues the closer we may find ourselves to a world where they don’t exist.

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