For many, the New Year holiday period is usually a time to kick back and relax, but not so for our police.
New Year’s Eve
Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command [LAC] duty officer Inspector Jo Reid said that she was in Yamba for New Years Eve and was pleased with the behaviour of the crowds.
“It was a really positive feeling and atmosphere in Yamba; even those hanging around after midnight were well behaved,” she said.
“We made a handful of arrests, but that’s as you’d expect. They were just minor intoxication offences, but generally I’m very pleased with New Years Eve.
The holiday period is usually the perfect time for thieves to step up their activity.
At the end of last year, the Clarence Valley Council ran a Look Lock Leave [LLL] initiative, to assist residents and tourists in taking steps to avoid being targeted by thieves, especially during holiday times.
Insp Reid said that she was still awaiting figures back from the caravan parks, but during this year’s holiday period, there appears to be a reduction in crime.
“The LLL initiative along with the productivity of the police in targeting the main offenders has had an impact this year, particularly in areas like Yamba and Iluka,” said Insp Reid.
“The majority of break-in’s we have, particularly in the summer months, are because people leave doors and windows open. This goes for cars as well.
“We need for people to be security conscious in that respect; I know it’s hot and uncomfortable sometimes but thieves don’t need much encouragement to get into your house or your car.
“The majority of break-in’s are due to people leaving doors and windows open,” she said.
Break and enters
“At Grafton, there have been a number of break and enters and we’ve arrested a number of juveniles; that was the main issues in Grafton, just bored youths.
“There was a pretty serious break-in at the public school by juveniles; which we managed to charge and put on curfew bail,” she said.
“The road toll, driver behaviour and hoon activity are still a concern to us, so a major focus now going into 2018 is road safety; and we make no apologies for trying to crack down on that.
“There have been two fatal accidents since New Years, at Copmanhurst and Iluka.
“Unfortunately we had the recent death on Iluka Road, so it’s not just the highway; it’s the country roads as well. The victim, a 66 year-old man from Berowra in Sydney, looks like either fatigue or a medical episode of some sort.
“The next challenge for us is the ‘Operation Safe Return’, which will run after Australia Day. That will be the next big influx of vehicles on the road and everyone needs to be at their sharpest and most alert for that trip home.
Other incidents have been the unfortunate drowning (in the upper reaches of the Clarence River) at Heifer Station and another accident out past Nymboida, when a lady passenger got a tree branch impaled in her leg. She was very lucky.
Insp Reid said that with the wild storm which hit Maclean on January 2, not even the police station was immune, with both the police station and the police residence suffering water damage.
“We had water damage in the station and part of the chimney actually came off and caused a bit of damage to one of the vehicles. Luckily no one was in it or next to it at the time.
“The police residence also lost half of its fence and a massive frangipani tree got uprooted,” she said.
Christmas/New Year wrap up
Insp Reid said that the police were generally pleased with the information which has been reported to them and happy with the results and seeing a reduction in crime.
“It’s been a busy holiday period, but a stable one,” said Insp Reid.
“Our focus for 2018 is to continue hitting the right areas and targeting the right people.
“We’re (the local police) all part of the community and we’ve all got to live here as well.
“We will continue to work for the community and do our best to make the Clarence Valley a safe place to live; that’s my aim and my goal,” she concluded.