Local police are taking on drug related crime in the St Marys Central Business District, ensuring safety for local shoppers, residents and business owners.
Police have been conducting a number of operations in the area targeting illegal drug use and drug related crime, with more operations promised in the future.
Earlier this month St Marys Police conducted a one-day Drug Detection Operation which was successful, resulting in the arrest of 16 people.
On that day, 22 charges were laid against offenders for drug offences relating to the supply and possession of prohibited drugs.
“The types of operations that are being and will be carried out focus mainly around High Visibility Policing and Drug Dog Operations in and around the St Marys CBD, Railway corridor and licenced premises. Police also utilise covert methods in some instances,” said Inspector Michael Bourke St Marys Local Area Command.
Police are hoping that the operations will reduce the incidence of drug related crime and offences related to drug use, such as break and enters, robberies and property crime in St Marys.
“Unfortunately I don’t believe any suburb anywhere will ever be totally drug free, however, St Marys LAC is certainly committed to reducing the impact of drug related crime in the area,” Mr Bourke said.
Local business owners believe that the drug problem in St Marys is taking a toll on business in the area.
Some say that drug related crime such as stealing and fraud are costing owners money but others believe that the real concern is the fact that customers are driven away from the area out of fear.
“I have seen them selling on the street, right outside the door. People don’t like coming here. They are turned off from coming to St Marys, they are scared,” said Janine Howe, 11 year owner of Giggles Fancy Dress Hire, Queen Street St Marys.
“People will tell you that this is the bad end of town but it is only because of that [drug problem]. Hopefully one day it will be drug free,” Ms Howe said.
The police operation is welcomed by local business owners who hope to see officers frequent the area.
“It is good to have an operation going on in St Marys to clean up the area a bit but if [the local police] only do one once in a blue moon, the grass will grow back again. We need police to patrol the streets in uniform because sometimes a warning will solve the problem,” said another Queen Street business owner who has been in business in the area for six years but wished to remain anonymous.