Community before criminals

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Community Before Criminals

OPINION: IT IS a worry when an eight-minute siege on-board a bus full of passengers, being held hostage by 10 youths, isn’t shocking anymore.

That’s what happened in Townsville last week. The gang taunted those on board, throwing bottles at them and snatching at bags.

On Monday a newsagent had to revive his martial arts skills in self-defence to ward off two young would-be pickpockets who attacked him on an early morning paper run.

His story was all over national breakfast TV the day after and was the talk of the town.

How have things come to this? Townsville is literally at the point where we have an entire community living in fear of what might happen next.

People check their locks three times before going to bed. They lie in bed wide-eyed at any bump or creak they hear.

The peaceful lives they’ve worked so hard for have been destroyed by young thugs who think it’s all a game.

I have met thousands of these residents, who come to me or contact my office, begging for something to be done.

Unlawful entry offences in Townsville have increased from 2088 in 2014 to 3167 in 2019. Car theft has risen from 592 to 985 in the same period.

The numbers are shocking, and our city and its people are suffering.

As long as the state Labor Government is in charge, nothing will change.

Next month they will have had five years to make improvements. Instead they’ve watered down youth crime legislation and introduced bail houses in our community which are putting even more people at risk. Every shred of evidence points to the failure of the bail houses, yet they’re still operating in the middle of our suburban streets. I ask the Minister, if they’re such a good idea – why doesn’t she put one next door to her house?

Senior police I speak to are incredibly frustrated at the revolving door of young criminals they see day in, day out. As soon as they catch them, they’re back out on the street again terrorising our community.

And that’s the problem with Palaszczuk’s catch and release program.

The criminals get all of the rights while the victims of crime have none.

I’m a federal MP. The Federal Government has no jurisdiction over crime and justice. But how can I ignore the No.1 issue in my community?

I vow to do everything that is in my power to keep this issue front and centre for state Labor. I’ve written to their Ministers. I’ve met with their constituents because their local Labor MPs won’t.

I’m in constant contact with the state LNP, helping develop their positive and effective plan for change which will make a difference.

As far as I am concerned, it’s community before criminals every day of the week.

Published in the Sunday-Mail, 26 January 2020

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