Stab Magazine | Crime Wave in Crescent Head?
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Crime Wave in Crescent Head?

Interview by Jed Smith If you believe The Daily Telegraph, and we’re inclined not to, the famed Australian surf-town of Crescent Head, home to the semi-world class point break of the same name, is in the midst of a crime wave. The thievery spree culminated in three robberies on a single night last week, conducted by […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Interview by Jed Smith

If you believe The Daily Telegraph, and we’re inclined not to, the famed Australian surf-town of Crescent Head, home to the semi-world class point break of the same name, is in the midst of a crime wave. The thievery spree culminated in three robberies on a single night last week, conducted by a man with a knife who cut his way through fly screens before making off with the goods (he was later pulled over by police but managed to flee into roadside bush and is yet to be apprehended). In the last four months, the sleepy coastal village (pop 1076) has been the scene of 42 crimes. Specifically:

– Eleven reported ‘break and enter dwelling’
– Five ‘break and enter non dwelling’
– Nine ‘steal from dwelling’
– Six stolen vehicles
– Three ‘steal from motor vehicle’
– Seven ‘assaults’
– Three ‘malicious damage’
– One ‘fraud’

Is that a lot? Should we be scared? We had no idea so we called our spiritual guru and director of the seminal 1972 surf film, Morning Of The Earth, Albe Falzon, who lives on a property nearby and is a regular in the town:

Albe, how goes it man? Real sweet.

Is it true? Has a crime wave struck Crescent Head? It’s a crime wave on the planet! Try Syria, try Chicago, try Iraq. The crime wave in Crescent Head, well I’ll tell you something…

(Phone drops out)

We were talking about crimes and the phone dropped out!

ASIO’s (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) tapped me! They’ve got taps on all of us! Don’t think you’re getting off scot-free. Now, the crime wave…plenty of waves at Crescent recently, but not many crime waves.

The sort of aquatic waves that Crescent Head’s been enjoying of late. (Photo: The Sun Worship Crescent Head Villas, still a lovely place for a holiday btw.)

Have you or your mates encountered anything? Kempsey (the nearest major town) has been an aboriginal centre for ages. When you live close to such a low income area that’s so repressive, you’ve gotta expect there to be a few rumblings in the backstreets of Crescent. I heard a great speech by (Wiradjuri man) Stan Grant that was probably the best speech I’ve heard by any western leader that spells it all out. When you listen to it, you understand why there’s some criminal activity from Aborigines in white Australia. Underneath it all it’s a really racist country, and they’ve been oppressed for ages. I put the flag up for ’em. We’ve got a lot to answer for in this country. Breaking into houses and stealing cars? It’s just out of anger and frustration. But I don’t see it, it’s not evident in Crescent Head, but in areas of Kempsey it’s an underlying current. Around 25% of Australian prison inmates are aborigines, and they only make up 2.5% of the population because they’ve all been slaughtered and killed and kicked out, and the rest are dying of alcohol poisoning. You can understand the national cause of why they are the way they are.

We hear there’s a fair bit of meth getting around the mid-north coast. What do you make of that? I don’t see it, but I don’t look for it. I think to make a story out of it you’d have to look really deep into the community. It’s rampant in our country so it’s only natural that it flows over into aboriginal communities because of their oppression, and anger and isolation and social economic situation. I go to Crescent a lot, it’s my favourite surf break, but I don’t see it there. I’ve got my eyes open, my ears open. If you talk to the locals who live there you’ll probably find there’s a bit more of that going on. Five years ago there was a big shoot out in Crescent, but it didn’t have to do with aborigines, it was alcohol or domestic violence, a white guy shot a couple of policemen. Kempsey and that area’s at the bottom end of the social scale. There’s a bit more money in Crescent Head because people from the city have bought houses there and it’s kind of isolated, but it’s still in the same area, a pretty poor area.

Albe riding the right kind of wave; truly a lesson in growing old gracefully. Photo: Robyn Wren

What advice would you give to the meth heads? It’s really hard to talk to people who’ve got problems who resort to alcohol or drugs. It’s just the result of a serious underlying cause and it varies. It comes down to the area where it’s happening. There’s usually deprivation, lack of amenities, and as a whole these things are happening at the other end of the social scale where there’s frustration and a widening gap between rich and poor. Kindness is important. It’s evident where there’s a real socioeconomic problem, because people at that bottom end of the scale are struggling to get enough food for their family. Not areas of the upper North Shore (in Sydney) where you have an illusion of wealth, which is total bullshit because Australians have the biggest personal debt per person of any country in the world! When you look at it, that has really damaging affects all down the line from the top end to the bottom. I think that’s the underlying problem here in Australia. There’s stress and anxiety because of a forced illusion of wealth. We’re paying a big price for it, and in the future we’re gonna pay a bigger price for it.

You’re a wise man, Alby…Well, it’s there for everyone. Underneath it we all see it. You do what you can do, that’s all. You know there’s been great surf up here, there’s a real good community of people up here, a lot of caring in the water and out. But you know underneath it there is a boiling tension. – Jed Smith

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