A Nightmare on Smith Street: St Kilda house a magnet for crime

by admin on July 13th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

Local MP Martin Foley and police will hold a community forum on Tuesday to speak to worried residents. Photo: Chris Hopkins A police van parked in Smith Street last week. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Nanjing Night Net

Police said their raid and overt presence led to five arrests. Photo: Jason South

It’s A Nightmare on Smith Street, a horror show of daytime drug dealing, wanton vandalism and terrifying burglaries linked to one house in a once-quiet St Kilda neighbourhood.

The bizarre 18-month saga took another unexpected turn last week: a car linked to the owner of the problem house was torched on Sunday, July 17. The next day police decided to start parking a manned patrol car outside the house until further notice. But they then left on Thursday.

Two hours later, police raided the house.

The developments confirmed that the concerns of Smith Street locals are far beyond the common community gripe that a street would be perfect were it not for the odd rowdy neighbour.

The issue may come to head on Tuesday, when local state MP Martin Foley and St Kilda police hold a community forum to speak to residents. Some locals have threatened to boycott the meeting to send a message that the time for talk is over.

They have been threatened while home alone, had their gates kicked in and other property damaged, and struggled to sleep at night, according to emails sent to police and Mr Foley.

Some were insulted when police offered to provide free home security assessments and graffiti removal, rather than stamping out crime linked to the house.

They questioned the value of improved lighting when many of the incidents were happening during the day.

The decision to park a police car in front of the house was a strategy to appease neighbours, and rattle the drug buyers flocking to the street.

But the police presence did not quell the most desperate clientele, who simply jumped neighbouring fences, trampling vegetable gardens on the way, to get their fix via the back door.

The subsequent raid may have lacked an element of surprise – not only because police cars had been parked outside for several days beforehand, but because it was the third time the house had been raided in 18 months.

But it was otherwise conducted like any other: police approaching the house with guns drawn and sniffer dogs at the ready, and windows smashed to gain entry.

“It didn’t seem very successful,” one resident said. “If you have police cars there for four days and then raid the place, I think it’s unlikely you’re going to find much.”

The residents of Smith Street are not entirely motivated by self-interest: they are also concerned that a young child lives in the house.

Police say the raid and overt presence led to five arrests last week, including arrests of people wanted for crimes elsewhere but found in Smith Street.

“A planned response has been developed with Victoria Police and stakeholders including short, medium and long-term strategies to reduce crime in the local area,” a police spokeswoman said.

“Victoria Police will continue to focus efforts both overtly and covertly in the area to ensure a safe environment exists for all.

“[We are] committed to reducing crime and ensuring the community can enjoy and feel safe in their local area.”

A 33-year-old St Kilda woman was charged with possessing a drug of dependence after the Thursday raid. She was bailed by police to appear in court at a later date.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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