Tasmania Police lockdowns of entire suburbs and towns in the north of the state have generated debate among justice and legal experts – but what do the people who live there think?
Ravenswood was one of three suburbs locked down by police in recent weeks, along with Mayfield and Cressy.
In Ravenswood, the police operation involved 20 officers targeting repeat offenders, and netted two drug drivers, two people with stolen items, two people then charged with firearms offences, four people that had failed to appear in court, and one family violence offender.
The lockdowns have been both praised, and criticised for being heavy-handed, with 75 per cent of The Examiner readers supporting them in our online poll.
At Eastside Village Shopping Centre on Saturday, residents shared a range of opinions on the lockdowns.
Margaret Woodiwiss agreed with the majority: “I think it’s a good thing, it keeps the place safer,” she said.
Murray Rock said a heavy police presence was not unusual for the suburb, which has higher crime rates and levels of socio-economic disadvantage than the Tasmanian average.
“I’m used to the police up here every day,” he said. “It’s an ongoing thing, with the young ones, I suppose. It’s just the way the suburbs are, around Ravenswood and Mayfield.”
Chris Edlin said he was “all for it”, but wanted to take the opportunity to remind people Ravenswood was not a bad suburb.
“They caught the people they wanted to catch; the innocent people – which is the majority of people up here – were fine,” he said.
“People frown about Ravenswood, but what you’ve got to take into consideration is there are more nice people than there are bad.
“Most people up here are battlers. They battle to put food on their table and send their kids to school.”
Mr Edlin said more needed to be done, including by The Examiner, to decrease the stigma of the Ravenswood name.
“We’ve got a bad name up here. And yes, houses get broken into up here, as they do in Prospect. And Norwood. And Riverside. But it’s highlighted when it’s in Ravenswood.”
But for Paul Bonner the lockdowns were neither overly disruptive or welcomed – because he “never had a clue” they were happening.
“They weren’t disruptive at all,” he said. “I knew nothing about it.”
Robyn Zoon knew – she was pulled up and breath-tested, along with 600 other people in the operation that closed off the exit and entry points to the suburb.
She thought it was “pointless, to be honest”.
“It was in the middle of the week – if you’re going to get people it’s going to be at the end of the week when they’re having a few drinks. I just thought it was a waste of time and taxpayer money,” she said.
Tasmania Police have indicated the lockdowns will continue around the North of the state.