Help crush ice epidemic

THE use, sale and manufacturing epidemic of crystal methamphetamine or ‘ice’ is set to be targeted with the Latrobe Valley community asked to ‘dob in’ dealers.

Crime Stoppers is imploring residents to anonymously report suspicious illicit drug activity to assist with the detection and disruption of the drug as part of the ‘Dob in a Dealer’ program.

Visiting the Moe Police Station yesterday, Crime Stoppers Victoria Community manager Peter Brown said he was confident in the strategy, first running the program in Bendigo.

“We saw a 300 per cent increase in the course of the two weeks of the program with intelligence coming in about drug dealers in that community,” Mr Brown said.

“It’s pretty profound the impact that it can have on stopping supply.”

He said for the next two weeks Crime Stoppers would be ‘geared up’ and aware of increased intelligence coming in and taking appropriate action.

“People are good in their local community of being aware of something that’s not quite right,” Mr Brown said.

“If it’s innocuous, nothing will be done.”

It coincides with Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s announcement yesterday of a national taskforce to help tackle the ice ‘epidemic’.

Former Victorian Police commissioner Ken Lay will coordinate local, state and federal efforts against the use, sale, manufacture and importation of the drug.

Latrobe Police Service Area Inspector Dean Thomas said residents should be conscious of windows always being closed up and irregular ‘coming and going’ from an address at different times of day and night.

“We do implore people to keep an eye out for that and if people see that, pass it on to Crime Stoppers. The information they pass on is confidential,” Inspector Thomas said.

Inspector Thomas said there had been a number of significant Victorian seizures of crystal methamphetamine in the last 12 months, which had gone some way in disrupting the supply.

However, he said on a daily basis the police force were dealing with people affected by the drug, taking resources away from other duties.

“It also puts our members at risk. When we’re dealing with these people, they are very erratic and not consistent in what they do. It takes up a lot of our time,” Insp Thomas said.

“If you see any activity in your own lives that you think is not appropriate, bring it to the attention of Crime Stoppers so that it can be investigated by local police.”

Meeting at the Moe Police Station, Crime Stoppers, Victoria Police and local businesses Rent 4 Keeps Latrobe Valley and Furniture Beds and More launched a dedicated Latrobe Valley Bus Lines bus to spruik the ‘Dob in a Dealer’ message.