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11 February, 2020

OPINION: Crime is everyone’s fault

Over the Australia Day long weekend, there were 14 break and enters to properties on the Tablelands, 8 of them in Mareeba.

By Phil Brandel

Recently we reported that the Mareeba tennis club had been broken into 4 times in 2 weeks, while Mareeba Yamaha has been broken into 4 times in less than 8 weeks.

Over the Australia Day long weekend, there were 14 break and enters to properties on the Tablelands, 8 of them in Mareeba.

Tablelands we have a problem!

Last week I read a police report on a break-in that ended with “I regret buying my dream house in Mareeba.”

On The Express Facebook page “I honestly feel like buying in Mareeba was the worse long term decision we have made. I don’t see any reason why my children would grow up and want to stay here…”

While some people like to point their finger at the police or the courts or even at parents. Crime on the Tablelands is everyone’s problem.

But nobody wants to lift a finger.

Late last year the Mareeba Neighbour watch group closed down due to lack of numbers

Dennis McKinlay who was the area coordinator said “we only had a small number of people who would turn up to the meetings. The community wasn’t interested in supporting us”

“We were preaching to the same small handful of people every week. We had a number of positions vacant on the committee and we couldn’t fill them”

“So late last year, we put the program on hold”

Police can only do so much, the council can only do so much and the courts can only do so much.

But if we all do a little bit, it all adds up.

As Dennis McKinlay said “we need the whole community to get involved”

When I walk around the streets of Mareeba in the middle of the day I see so many kids on their bikes, why aren’t they at school?

Detective Senior Sergeant Brett Divine from the CIB told me “the problem stems from generations of Alcoholics, social housing problems, and bad home environments”

I’ve heard from a few people that kids are on the street at night because it’s not safe at home, they would rather hang out on the street, where it’s safer. They then commit break and enters because they’re bored or because they need money for food.

Do you we need to open a safe house for children to sleep and eat in, no questions asked?

How do we make sure kids are going to school? Do we punish the parents? What can everyone do to play their part?

It all screams that we need to pull together as a community, if we don’t stop this cycle now, we will still be having the same conversation in years to come.

Last Month Mareeba Shire council Mayor Tom Gilmore, Member for Cook Ms Cynthia Lui and the Queensland Police Service, Department of Youth Justice and Child Safety had a round table meeting “to address the community perception of an increase in juvenile crime and anti-social behaviour in the Shire.”

There was one person missing from that meeting most you.

Without you, it all falls apart, without you there is no community.

It’s all well and good to wait for the above-mentioned agencies to do their job, but when are you going to start doing yours?


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