Monday, 8 August 2011

"That sort of thing does not happen here"

an acquaintance told us last night. He sounded smug. Adelaide, he told us, has never had any race riots and "we don't really have a drug problem or a gun problem".
I wonder which Adelaide this man lives in. There are areas of Adelaide which have small outbreaks of race based violence too often for the news media to be bothered reporting it any more. There are places where the police will not go, especially after dark, except in groups.
There is a street in the CBD where there is constant trouble.
Our drug problem is immense. Two people died last week as a result of a new batch of heroin hitting the streets. They were not young either. They were both in their forties. Marijuana crops of varying sizes are commonly found. An entire house was used to grow it in a street along my regular bike route. They raided the place about three weeks ago - and caught nobody. Someone must have tipped them off.
Over the weekend an older woman, with no known crime related links, was murdered by gunfire in her own home in a quiet surburban street.
It does not sound much until you realise that Adelaide is a very small place. There are just over a million people in the entire state of South Australia.
If you multiply the statistics and then compare them with the statistics in other places then we have problems on a similar scale. We may well have a much bigger problem with graffiti.
We once lived in a house which backed on to the local railway line. There was a pedestrian track along it to access the local railway station. On the other side of the tracks there is a very large complex of several blocks of flats. I could come home from a late lecture or a meeting and know that I was almost as safe as I was in daylight.
Now the railway station has been closed but the shelter is still there. It is used by some of the local drug dealers. The flats have gone from housing mostly older people to housing a mix of refugees and the mentally ill. It is an explosive combination. The Tactical Response Group must know the place better than they know their own homes.
So yes. Adelaide has problems like any other place. It does not make it a dangerous place to live. It is probably no more or less dangerous than most areas of any other city. There are many lovely places in Adelaide and most of it is safe enough in daylight but it is always wise to be extra cautious in some areas.
What is dangerous is the complacent attitude of the acquaintance who told us, "That sort of thing does not happen here."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It can happen anywhere. Nobody should be complacent. Bob C-S (in London)