I started on the radio in 2008. Each month I was on the air I felt a growing unease amongst my listeners - and fear of becoming a victim of crime was at the heart of it.
It showed up in community outrage about piddling sentences and crazy bail and parole laws that saw too man serious offenders on the street. It was reflected in government policies that prohibited police or other agencies from talking about gangs. According to the Bligh Government there were no gangs - just occassional groups of "like-minded-individuals".
In early 2010 we decided to do something about it. We hosted a forum with the Attorney General, Police Minister, Police Commissioner, Opposition Leader, Police Union, judges, magistrates and sundry other concerned people. They had nowhere to go - and I was surprised by the vehemence and anger in the crowd. A feeling that they simply weren't safe was very real for the people at the forum.
In the last 24 hours I've been asked for the details of the event by a government-agency in Queensland. Rather than just send the stuff off to that agency, I thought I'd post it all here for anyone who's interested to come and have a look.
I get the sense that the time is ripe for something similar in Sydney right now - where the State Government's Attorney General seems to be more of a social worker than first law officer.
Here's a link to the petition we handed to the Attorney GeneralCameron Dick.
Here's 4BC's website from the event, archived at the Wayback Machine.
And this young mum was undoubtedly the star of the show. Nicky was sitting quietly in the audience, then asked for the microphone to make her impromptu speech. I've seldom heard so powerful a presentation in so brief a time. The chastened Attorney General Cameron Dick spoke directly after Nicky.