Crime rate will rise
THE Tweed will see more domestic violence, burglary, theft and fraud as the nation enters a recession.
This is the prediction of Tweed/Byron Police, who are preparing for an influx of burglaries, theft and robberies with the rise of unemployment and as more people struggle to make ends meet.
Tweed/Byron crime manager, Inspector Greg Carey, said police would do all they could to combat any increase in crime.
“We certainly have thought about it and we have considered an increase in property theft, fraud and insurance fraud,” Insp Carey said.
He said people would also be tempted to buy and sell stolen goods in times of desperation.
Police have already reported a significant rise in local fraud, particularly failing to pay for petrol due to mounting financial pressures.
“We will see an increase of stolen goods being sold and people will be tempted to buy them because of the significant price reductions associated,” Insp Carey said.
“There may also be an increase in domestic violence associated with stresses in families, to do with job losses and financial problems.
“Although we are fully aware that there may be an increase in these types of crimes, we'll certainly be working very closely with key stakeholders to minimise the likelihood of that happening.”
Tweed Shire Women's Service (TSWS) manager Tracy Asby said the demand for women's services had risen significantly in the past nine months.
“Since June-July we've certainly seen an increase of people walking through the door,” Ms Asby said.
“Whether that's the result of the financial crisis, we couldn't say, but that ... could definitely be a factor.”
TSWS, based in Murwillumbah, offers support groups, crisis counselling, advocacy and free use of facilities for women.
Ms Asby said the deteriorating economy would almost certainly lead to a rise in domestic violence, which, she said, was already a major problem on the Tweed.
“As an organisation we've been looking at how we can prepare for an onslaught (of clients), particularly when we are already under-funded.
“The only way we've been able to do that is by making extra applications for funding wherever we can.
“We have been talking to (Federal Richmond MP) Justine Elliot and Tweed mayor Joan van Lieshout.
“They are supportive, but it's like any other non-government organisation - we are all looking for funding,” she said.
“The reality is we need the funding to put people at the front to cope with the huge number of women walking through the door - and children.”
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, there were more than 1000 domestic violence related assaults in the Richmond-Tweed region from September 2007 to 2008.
Ms Asby said it was vital for people to seek help.
“Seek support early,” she said. “Ring somebody, get financial counselling.
“Use what's available locally. Don't just put it off; nobody is immune.”