PERCEPTIONS that antisocial behaviour is on the increase in Orange will come as no surprise to a community that has seen examples of the so-called “one punch” assaults in our own CBD, and the brawling and swearing reported in South Terrace on Saturday.
People working in the criminal justice system and in drug and alcohol treatment share the view of readers who voted in our online poll on the subject on Tuesday.
Almost 300 people agreed with the proposition that antisocial problems were on the increase.
While many categories of crime are being contained and the public see police as gaining the upper hand, antisocial and drug and alcohol related crime seem to be bucking the trend.
These types of crimes are a significant problem in Orange, but they are not just confined to the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings when the effects of excessive consumption of alcohol are most evident in the vicinity of late night venues.
As the fighting in South Terrace on Saturday afternoon indicated, problems with drug and alcohol consumption can be far more widespread.
The sort of behaviour inflamed by heavy alcohol and other drug use, which often plays out in the local court, won’t be changed by simply altering pub trading hours or policing methods.
This will address some of the antisocial behaviour fuelled by late night binging, but not that which is entrenched in the family home and in individual behaviour every day of the week.
The implication here is that solving some of the social problems in pockets around Orange, including the South Terrace area, will require more than just moving people on.
As appealing and as necessary as that is in many cases, resources also need to be put into health, education and employment programs.
That will require more money to be spent, not less, and a commitment to following problem individuals and their families so they do not disappear from sight only to become some other community’s problem.