Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More drug busts but Sydney city getting safer

A story in today's SMH curiously contradicts various themes of moral panic and popular myth that dominate other areas of the media.

It reports a steep rise in victimless prostitution and drug 'crimes' - ie people being caught with cocaine, cannabis or amphetamines - but a reduction in crimes against person and property like assault, robbery or murder.

The City of Sydney along with parts of the north shore are the safest areas of Sydney. This curiously contradicts rhetoric about 'out of control alcohol-fuelled violence' that fills pages of media and the emails of serial complainers to Council.

The increase in 'drug crime' contradicts law and order rhetoric that the War against Drugs is working.

A passage from the story follows:
But the number of recorded cases of dealing in amphetamines rose more than 63 per cent, while possession of the illegal stimulants was up almost 55 per cent.

Cocaine possession was also up 23.3 per cent and trafficking in cannabis rose more than 33 per cent.

Prostitution offences also rose from 176 recorded incidences in 2009 to 275 the following year.

Across the state, motor vehicle theft fell 9.3 per cent, malicious damage was down about 10 per cent and stealing from a person also dropped more than 10 per cent.

The City of Sydney and Ku-ring-gai were the safest places to be, according to the bureau report released this morning. Sydney recorded fewer incidences of six of the 17 major offences and in the Ku-ring-gai council area the numbers fell in five of those categories.

But violent crime in two council areas – Ashfield and Cobar – rose almost 40 per cent and 50 per cent respectively over the two years.

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