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Byron Shire
November 30, 2022

Crime and mental health issues impact Mullum

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Mullum has seen an increase of mental health issues. Photo Aslan Shand

Businesses and locals have been raising their concerns over the increase in abusive and aggressive behaviour and break-ins in Mullumbimby. 

Locals have reported that they have been woken by loud, abusive busking, fights and screaming while others have reported elderly people being screamed at by people with mental health issues on the streets. 

‘A lot of my friends won’t let their kids walk around town on their own, and others won’t walk dogs on the streets of Mullum anymore, because of all the stray dogs,’ said one local business owner, who asked not to be named. 

‘Two to three times a week, there is an altercation or fight outside my shop, and businesses have had windows smashed. I’ve been in the area for over 15 years, and over the last two years it has been getting progressively worse. I saw someone get stabbed at the pub about three months ago. That in itself was so shocking. 

‘I see so much of it, especially the mental health issues. Drugs are definitely another issue. The drug deals are going on outside all the shops constantly all day. It just feels like Nimbin now.’

Detective Chief Inspector, Matt Kehoe, Officer in Charge of Byron Bay Police Station, told The Echo, ‘Yes, we are aware of the mental health and drug issues in, and around Mullumbimby at present, and I speak often with Jenelle [from the business chamber] and other shopkeepers in the CBD’.

‘We are also working very closely with the Community Mental Health [MH] Team, to get the increased support that some of these repeat MH persons need. I can’t comment on “increases in mental health patients in the community”, as it is more a health matter, but can say that we are dealing with mental health matters on almost a daily basis,’ he said.

‘We have increased tasks in and around the Mullumbimby CBD, and made a number of arrests in recent weeks for drugs and “proceeds of crime” offences, and seized cannabis and large amounts of cash. These tasks will continue, and likely increase. We have received reports from the community and would welcome any information on drug activity, which can be made to police or anonymously to Crime Stoppers.’

The distance police need to travel and the lack of police at the Mullumbimby Police Station have been highlighted as leaving the community vulnerable. 

‘It can take 45 minutes for the police to arrive from Byron following a report,’ said the local business owner. We need extra police resources for Mullumbimby. We go to the police station in Mullum and there is no one there. There is a big distance for police to cover in Byron Shire, and you only have one police station here that has officers permanently in it. I think they need more police and mental health support services.’

Report issues

Jenelle Stanford, President of the Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce, said it is important for the community to come on board and report issues to the police as they arise. 

‘If you see something, ring the police. Don’t be scared, because you are not the only one calling. Get involved, it’s your community.’

Rumours that groups of young people, sometimes referred to as ‘eshays’, are responsible for the recent spate of break-ins, have been refuted by Inspector Kehoe. 

He told The Echo, ‘I am aware of some break and enter incidents, but don’t believe they are attributed to the “eshay” group.’

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  1. Mullumbimby has become a dirty disgusting little town, over runned by do gooders who are arrogant and self scented.
    Nobody has the respect for other people in this town.
    You have people who do not know road rules and do as they want, this is an accident waiting to happen.
    You have people who walk out in front of cars because they want to and wonder why people get annoyed.
    How about cleaning up this grub of a town, take those ridiculous yellow humps from the corners of the streets and make road users be responsible and pedestrians be responsible for using the crossings properly.
    There is nothing nice about this little town any more,

  2. Scaremongering nonsense. No crime stat’s, no actual information of any sort, just gutter press vilification of a few folk who socially gather on the streets, like humans used to do before being so overcome with fear and paranoia. Is this some sort of insidious law and disorder push into Mullum? If you want to investigate crime, try the distribution of flood resources. Oh no, that’s a tougher target than vilifying some homeless dude and his dog.

    • I agree Marc, although not a resident of Mullumbimby, I am a regular visitor…even travel down from Brisbane to get my hair cut😎🧚‍♀️…there are good and not so good things about all people in all areas…as a whole I have found Mullumbimby a friendly and very nice place to visit with a unique atmosphere that I, my partner and dogs really enjoy….Lynne

  3. Used to be a lovely place to live. Brought my kids up there. Glad I’m not living in Mullumbimby today.
    Full of want to bees. No pride in the town.
    No parking within 3 blocks of main street.
    Last real estate guide I read said there was 247 houses on the market.
    Like me a lot of the local people have moved on.

  4. Police and mental health agencies need extra funding to keep up with the increase of drug and mental health issues. Mullumbimby Police Station needs to be staffed full time. 1-2hrs police wait time detrimental to public safety .

    • yes true..There were Police on horses parading last week and the horses
      pooping in the streets and leaving it..no respect..not sure what there intention was.

  5. I have had a business in Mullum for 13 years..Its nothing new, here or anywhere I have had a business..Its a lack of resources and I was told the homeless get sent here because its a compassionate community..The problem is that the Police say its councils responsibility and Council says its the Police’s responsibility…Gov doesnt want to take any responsibility for the crisis that is caused by many different reasons…the allowance of investors buying up all the properties and taking away affordable housing does not help, not to mention the floods that has left so many houses empty while they wait for Insurance companies and also the shortages of Tradespeople..People always come into my shop and say what a lovely vibe it is in Mullum..Im a bit over the judgements of snobs and people who make assumptions based on limited knowledge.Many of the people hanging around the streets often are from out of town anyway…I stand by my eclectic community and love the amazing dedications of those who love it too..

  6. I just want to have peace and quiet and to be able to walk around without having to deal with psychotic screaming men, off leash dogs, groups of drug or alcohol affected men, bad loud busking and swearing, insults. Not too much to ask. I get that in Byron but not Mullum. We need better resources to deal with this.


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