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Drugs problem “under control”

Friday, 11th April, 2014

Barrier LAC Acting Detective Inspector Matt McCarthy. Barrier LAC Acting Detective Inspector Matt McCarthy.

By Nick Gibbs

Drug crime in Broken Hill is “certainly not going up”, according to the Barrier Local Area Command’s Acting Detective Inspector Matt McCarthy.

His statement follows two arrests this week in connection to the supply and sale of crystal methamphetamine in the city.

Officers carrying out the investigation are attached to the Barrier LAC Strike Force Ipel, a specialised group established in 2012 to investigate drug supply here.

“If there was a serious drug problem in Broken Hill, you would know about it,”  DI McCarthy said, explaining that there tended to be a jump in crime generally when there were high levels of drug abuse in a community.

“A lot of places are a lot worse off than us,” he said. 

Figures from the RDA Far West Economic Update released Wednesday appear to support that, revealing a 78 per cent fall in drug offences locally compared with the same quarter in 2013.

Additional findings from a report from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show that possession and/or use of amphetamines across the State rose by 5.7 per cent last year compared with the previous year.

In the Broken Hill Local Government Area, recorded criminal incidents of assault rose noticeably between 2012 and 2013.

There were 36 more cases of domestic violence-related assault and a further 16 general incidents in 2013 compared with the previous year.

Conversely, there was a considerable drop in the number of malicious damage to property offences reported, with 459 cases in 2012 compared to 356 last year. 

Speaking to the BDT yesterday, DI McCarthy did not comment on the figures directly as he had not seen them, but said there were a number of variables to take into account when accessing crime stats.

“It may be a case of more people coming forward and reporting incidents to police,”  he said in relation to the increase in cases of domestic violence.

Regardless of how the figures translate to the level of crime in the city, DI McCarthy said the best thing residents could do was talk to local police. 

“If they think anything might be of interest, report it to police. They can do it anonymously if they want,”  he said. 

“We will follow it up.” 

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