The Westlake Watcher: Violence erupts in quiet streets
In the aftermath of the horrific mauling of young Zane Blaire, Westlake, Victoria has gone from being one of the most peaceful suburbs to one of the most violent in all of Australia. ‘The crime rate,’ says Chief Constable Tenner of the Victorian Crime Squad, ‘has increased twenty percent in a matter of weeks, and counting.’
‘Assaults are number one, attempted murder a close second, and crime in general is on the rise,’ Mr. Tenner said. When asked whether the nature of the newfound violence was gang or terror related, Mr. Tenner was adamant that neither was the case. ‘The cases we’re seeing are primarily personal and impulsive. The victims are usually vulnerable persons, but not always. Overall, the criminals are committing crimes of violence without any obvious motive or premeditation. In my opinion, the recession is taking its toll on the underprivileged.’
The severe assault on Zane Blaire by Mr. Clement Owens was only the first in a series of what seems to be an epidemic currently restricted to Westlake, and many residents report a growing feeling of fear and suspicion in the streets. Mr. Gruensberg, a tenant living just two streets from Westlake park, admitted that vandals had become a definite worry. ‘I keep a knife at my bedside, and I hear screams and sirens every night. These kids are getting out of control, and we need to do something about it,’ he said.
But is it the kids? Zane Blaire’s attacker was a middle aged man, and of those that have been convicted in Westlake recently the culprits have ranged from young males to middle aged parents to octogenarian grandmothers. Yes, you read it correctly, and eighty three year old Mrs. Maybelle Lance has been indicted for deliberately severing three fingers from the hand of her one year old grandson, whom she was babysitting at the time.
It would seem that the violence isn’t restricted to residents of Westlake, either, but also to its police force. There has been a remarkable rise in reported complaints of police brutality in this area. To this, officer Tenner simply states: ‘The more violent people are becoming… it’s the police defending themselves, isn’t it?’ In response to the case (details on page 5) of Emanuel Lerner, who claimed to have been bashed by three police officers for no apparent reason, Tenner declined to comment. (Continued page 36).