Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NSW Opposition aims for drive-by 'silver bullet'

ABC Online | 31 August 2011

A spate of drive-by shootings in Sydney has prompted the New South Wales Opposition to push for increased penalties. In the latest incident, on Monday night, two cars exchanged at least a dozen shots at an intersection in Greenacre, in the city's west. Two stray bullets hit the front of a house while a family was inside.

There have been at least 10 shooting incidents over the past few weeks alone. Police believe many of the incidents are linked.

Opposition Leader John Robertson says there is currently no specific offence for firing from a car, despite the high risk of someone being injured or killed.

"Unless an offender kills or seriously injures a person in a drive-by shooting, they're typically charged with the offence of fire at a dwelling," Mr Robertson said.

"This at the moment is only delivering sentences of four and half years, and for first time offenders the most likely penalty is a suspended sentence.

"We're suggesting that the Attorney-General ask the (NSW) Sentencing Council to increase the penalties for all drive-by shooting related offences and introduce a specific offence to deal with this crime category.

"What we're seeing is the people of western Sydney feeling unsafe. They have a right to feel safe in their homes."

Attorney-General Greg Smith has poured cold water on the call, though he says the Government is reviewing crime penalties.

"The Opposition, when they were in government, all they thought was to increase penalties, that would cure problems," Mr Smith said.

"It cured nothing. In fact it created greater recidivism, enormous increases in population in prisons.

"It's much cleverer to find what's causing this. This is what the police have got to do, they've got to get to the bottom of the war that's going on."

Meanwhile, police believe they have found the second car involved in Monday's shooting. An abandoned Audi was discovered with bullet holes in it at Sydenham yesterday afternoon. A stolen four-wheel drive thought to be the other vehicle used was found burnt out at Wiley Park soon after the shots were fired.

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