Griffith drug crime on rise

PILED HIGH: Police in front of a huge clump of marijuana plants in Hanwood in 2011.
PILED HIGH: Police in front of a huge clump of marijuana plants in Hanwood in 2011.

DRUG-RELATED crime in Griffith is one of the highest in the state, with offences increasing by more than 50 per cent within a year.

Griffith police Detective Inspector Paul Smith confirmed there had been a huge increase in the number of drug offences in the past four years.

Cannabis, methamphetamine and prescription drugs including oxycontin and fentalyn are just some of the drugs being pedalled to residents in the city.

Detective Inspector Smith said police had been targeting drug offenders, but admitted that when a drug dealer was detected, there was someone to take their place.

"If we knock down one dealer, there's soon someone else to take his spot, which is all the more reason to keep on the issue," he said.

NSW crime statistics reveal that in 2013, the number of drug offences rose by 56.1 per cent. The state average for drug offences is 618.3 per 100,000 people, but Griffith had one of the highest incidents of drug offences, with 1375.6 per 100,000.

"The supply, manufacture and cultivation of drugs has been a priority of ours in Griffith for some years," Detective Inspector Smith said.

"We have had some significant increases in drug detection in that period of time, which has predominantly been through assistance from the public."

Detective Inspector Smith said information from members of the public had resulted in some large seizures of cannabis crops, some which had thousands of plants.

He said drugs had been an issue for the town for a long period of time.

"I have no doubt those drugs were here before, but it was the fact we weren't having a signifcant impact on them, that is probably the change in the statistics."

Detective Inspector Smith said he did not believe Griffith's drug issues were any worse than any other regional centre, but it was a major concern.

"We're not only talking about people selling drugs, we're talking about people making drugs, growing drugs, importing drugs, these are all issues," he said.

Detective Inspector Smith said residents should dob in drug dealers, because there were negative impacts to communities.

"If you think you're not a victim - if your house has been broken into, if your car has been broken into, chances are the offender is feeding a drug habit. That's the motivation for people. If anyone has information about the dealers who are making money out of everyone else's misery, they should come forward," he said.

Anyone with information can contact Griffith police on 6969 4299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.