When, week after week after week, the Eastwood and Southside Extra leads on violent crime in our local area it is clear we have a problem our political leaders need to do something about!
This week, (5th June 2008), the Extra's lead headline is "Park: Out Of Bounds", following the brutal murder of a local woman in Queen's Park, an area the Extra go on to describe as "still a no-go area a week after the discovery of (the victims) partially-clothed body". Last week, (29th May 2008), the lead headline was "Blade Terror", after an armed robbery at Harvie Avenue Post Office, and a couple of weeks earlier they led with "A Party To Trouble", with the story detailing four assaults on youngsters in Overlee Park, Clarkston.
I know that crime is a local priority because East Renfrewshire Council's own Citizens Panel, (made up of 1,000 local people), say that being free from crime in our communities should be East Renfrewshire's No.1 priority.
So why, you may ask, do so many people believe crime blights our local society when local crime statistics generally indicate a drop in crime? The simple truth is that low level crime, things like graffiti and loutish behaviour by local youths, now go unreported because we all believe our Police are overstretched and will be unable to do anything about it. Oh, and even if someone is actually caught in the act they will have been taught their rights under ECHR at school and will probably use this to get a simple caution and avoid prosecution.
So when it comes to a broken garage window or a scratched car door very few people now report any offence preferring instead to look for an easy life and avoid a whole load of paperwork and just repair any damage so they don't lose their no claims discount.
You can read about Labour's failure to tackle violent in our newspapers and you can see their failure to address low level crime on junction boxes, bus stops and shop fronts every day. Our own MP, Jim Murphy, is happy to be seen in the Extra at any event going, and those he creates to generate a photo opportunity, but where is he when we need a local champion against crime across East Renfrewshire?
Crime costs us all dear, whether this be in terms of increased insurance premiums or the increasing cost to our NHS of treating those injured by violent crime. So, like the good people of East Renfrewshire, crime is my No.1 Priority at every level. The difference is that crime is something I will actually do something about!