SHOP OWNERS WILL FIGHT ON
DAWSON MALL PROPRIETORS CONTINUE TO DEAL WITH CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR
PLENTY of good is taking place to extinguish the bad reputation of Mt Druitt’s Dawson Mall and increase safety in the area.
But many concede there is still a long way to go.
The Standard headed out to chat to shoppers, community groups, business owners and those just hanging out during the Thursday night late trade.
There was singing and dancing, free food stalls and sausage sizzles, but behind it shop owners live with graffiti, shoplifters and bin fires – and make cleaning urine from their shopfronts part of their daily routine.
PUBLIC urination, graffiti, alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour and crime are still affecting Mt Druitt’s Dawson Mall.
The mall’s Hot Price variety stall owner Lisa Loiu said she can no longer obtain insurance for her business as her store is a constant target for vandals.
“The locks are always being damaged, I don’t know why – maybe by people trying to break in,” she said.
“The glass is always being covered in graffiti or broken.
“It costs $5000 per window to replace, and I have eight big windows. No one will insure me now because it happens all the time and is too expensive.”
Ms Loiu said whether opened or closed, her shop’s back door and entrance are constantly used as makeshift urinals, and rubbish bins are regularly set alight.
She said the worst behaviour she has seen in 14 years happened a few years ago, when she wouldn’t sell a lighter to two young teens as they were underage.
“They somehow snuck a lighter when I wasn’t looking, went to the candle aisle and started a fire in the shop.
“The police came but there was nothing they could do.”
Ms Loiu said shoplifting happened on a daily basis.
“Kids will come in, remove a tag from a jacket and put it on,” she said.
“When I ask them to put it back they say ‘this is my jacket’ and there is nothing I can do.
“I can’t grab it off them because I am not allowed to touch them – and they know it.”
Lawrence Bernal and his friends were walking through the mall towards the end of the late-night trade and said, while he felt safe there, other nights could be very different.
Mr Bernal said if Blacktown Council was to install a $1.6 million playground “there’d be a 50/50 chance it will get damaged”.
Mt Druitt acting crime manager Scott Houldin said proactive patrols of Dawson Mall and Mt Druitt station are now done on a daily basis.
Additional patrols are conducted by officers from Mt Druitt and the Police Transport Command.
“We have built strong re- lationships with local business owners and will continue to work closely to ensure the safety of the local community,” Insp Houldin said.
“Our approach to crime prevention in Dawson Mall focuses on a variety of different strategies which complement each other, rather than one being more effective than another.
“We will continue to work with specialist resources, including the Police Transport Command and Dog Unit, and conduct both overt and covert operations throughout Mt Druitt.”
Locals Lawrence Bernal (right), Matt Steele, Jeff Viray and Lowe Napalan (front) in the mall.
Hot Price owner Lisa Loiu says the outside of her shop is regularly used as a urinal.
Graffiti is a problem in the mall but police are on patrol(right).