Gundagai had the highest rate of homicide in NSW last year – or at least that’s according to the latest data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR).
In fact, only one attempted murder charge pertaining to the area took place between June 2015 and July 2016, a case which didn’t involve Gundagai locals.
BOCSAR calculates their crime rates per 100, 000 people, and for a shire of Gundagai’s size (3, 747), that leads to one incident equaling a per 100, 000 rate of 26.6, against the NSW rate of 1.2.
The incident does technically mean that Gundagai had more homicide charges per capita that any other local government area, but residents can rest easy knowing the rate is the result of an unfortunate anomaly.
Sergeant Shane Brasen of the Tumut Police Force said the BOCSAR statistic shows numbers shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value.
“That’s just one example of how the statistics don’t always paint a true picture,” he said. “These guys have been charged with that offence and all of a sudden it’s a murder statistic, whereas if you take it into context it’s just a random thing that’s happened involving people who don’t even live in the area. So I don’t think we can draw too much from that.”
The relevant case was that of Timothy Lynch and Kane McDowell, from Yass and Eden respectively, who led police on a two hour car chase across the region after allegedly attempting to break into a shop near Gundagai’s the Dog on the Tuckerbox.
The pair, who police say were both heavily addicted to the drug ice, allegedly exchanged gunfire with police and hit a police car during the high-speed chase, leading to their attempted murder charge.
They then allegedly forced a man and a 14-year-old boy out of a car at gunpoint near a service station, at which point they were apprehended and taken to Yass police station.
They racked up eight charges each during the events: aggravated break and enter, be carried in conveyance without consent of the owner, shooting with intent to murder, assault occasioning bodily harm, resisting arrest, possessing a prohibited firearm, using a prohibited weapon to prevent lawful detention, and assault with intent to take a motor vehicle.
Hopefully all weaponised car chases stay out of Gundagai this next year, and the shire can return to its normal homicide rate of 0.