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Why drugs are town's top fear: The only time I'll argue with a cop

THIS week's Coffee with a Cop was a hot event with residents who were eager to have their questions about crime answered.

Muffin Break owner Ankie Kriel said business at the corner coffee shop was booming all morning and that the event's relaxed atmosphere helped people gain enough confidence to ask questions.

But one outcome from the morning surprised even the cops, who have no doubt seen more than their fair share of bizarre things.

A Coffee with a Cop survey revealed attendees' biggest concern in Gladstone was drugs.

Senior Constable Wendy Brooks said she had been expecting domestic violence to be the city's biggest concern.

But I was far from shocked when I heard the news.

I am not a Gladstone local. In fact, I've only been here six months.

Sure, working in the media you see your fair share of crime each day but Gladstone is different.

Nearly every negative thing that happens in this town, whether it's domestic violence, assault, public nuisance or theft, seems to be attributed to drugs by the general public.

These days, it feels like even if someone knows next to nothing about an incident, drugs are immediately blamed as the cause.

This only boosts the public's already negative opinion on certain demographics and promotes the all-too-common response: #StayClassyGladstone.

Another reason I wasn't the least surprised that people's top concern was with drugs rather than DV was because of how the two occur.

Drugs are more often than not in the public eye.

In Gladstone, drug users are out and about, whether they're keeping to themselves or causing problems.

And while it definitely shouldn't be the case and needs to change, DV is still, all too often, swept under the rug and overlooked - whether we're actual bystanders to the crime or simply reading about it in the news.

Sarah Steger, Digital producer