SYDNEY'S Bible belt is known for its McMansions, aspirational voters and enthusiastic church-goers. But the conservative, affluent Hills District is also in the grip of a crime wave - and mortgage stress may be behind it.Mortgage stress may be behind Bible belt crime - National - smh.com.au
Over the past four years, Baulkham Hills Shire has experienced rising rates of violence and robbery. Domestic violence has risen by almost 20 per cent, assault is up by almost 10 per cent and harassment by 23 per cent.
There have been five murders in the past two years; there were none in the five years before that. They include the stabbing murder of Richard Carruthers, the 36-year-old redesigner of the Olympic cauldron, in his Castle Hill home. Three of the murders remain unsolved.
Many families in the area are also struggling financially, which can influence domestic violence statistics. "What you have in the Hills District is more people paying more off home loans than the rest of Sydney," Dr Lee said.
"You've got 50 per cent of home owners paying more than $2000 a month off a home. That's at least 10 per cent more than the average. I'm not saying it's causal, but I think it's an interesting figure."
The Local Area Commander, Superintendent Sue Waites, also suggests a link between financial stress and domestic violence. Domestic violence problems could also be fuelling the 23.2 per cent rise in harassment, threatening behaviour and private nuisance charges. "[Incidents] include sending inappropriate text messages to persons via mobile phones," she said.