On Sunday morning people were posting on our Facebook wall asking about what had happened in Geraldton the night before.
Rumours were floating around that there had been a large number of people, men and women both, assaulted for no apparent reason after a night of enjoying themselves in Geraldton. Grab a copy of Wednesday's Guardian for an overview of what transpired.
Conversation sprung up on the net, but as with all emotive topics, it's difficult to curate discussion on such an issue without the conversation descending into thoughtless calls for retribution, over the top lynch mobs, or flat out racism.
Yet the crime issue is real, and certainly warrants robust discussion by the wider Geraldton community.
Crime is a real problem, and is not decreasing in Geraldton.
Everyone, young adults in particular, want things to do in Geraldton. Yet when events are marred with violence, the venues are reluctant to put on similar events in the future.
The police do an excellent job with the resources they are given. But they are undermanned, and struggle to obtain and retain staff. Seven positions for supporting staff for the police are currently unfilled in Geraldton. The work those seven people could be doing could free up officers to do more actual police work.
The Liberal party promised to increase the number of police employed and recruited prior to the recent state election. But after querying how many of those would actually end up in Geraldton, we are still yet to hear back any sort of firm number.
That's not to say the government aren't trying hard to solve the problem. But with constant pressure from so many different groups wanting lower taxes and costs of living, yet improved public services, it's a mighty difficult juggling act governing a state.
Pretending the issue is non existant won't help it go away. Blaming politicians, police, and bad parenting won't solve the problem either.
So what can be done to curb the increase in violence, home invasions, and general theft? Would harsher sentences actually do anything to decrease crime, or would they simply serve to make victims feel a little better? Are more support services needed to help prevent people "at risk" from heading into a life of crime in the first place? Is drugs and alcohol consumption a factor, and does the culture of binge drinking need to be addressed more thoroughly?