More than 120 police swooped on Shalvey in a bid to stamp out simmering tensions between local gangs. The Standard’s Alison Balding was invited along.
POLICE locked down Shalvey on Friday night and put local gangs on notice that violence in the community will not be tolerated.
With five shootings in Mt Druitt since Christmas and a resurgence of gang activity, police flooded the suburb to reassure residents they were not alone.
Police are also concerned about the growing trends of YouTube fight videos and recent out-of-control parties.
Mt Druitt Superintendent Jeff Philippi said four known gangs in the area were believed to be responsible for most of the recent unrest.
He asked The Standard to withhold the gangs’ names to prevent bolstering their images but spoke candidly of their criminal activity.
Supt Philippi said the biggest gang had up to 40 members and claimed the largest part of the Blacktown LGA as their turf, focusing most of their energies on street robberies.
Another gang has a stronghold in Fairfield and parts of Mt Druitt, and is believed to have some links to recent party brawls. The other two gangs are split by suburbs in the Mt Druitt area.
All four gangs are made up of members aged in their late teens to early 30s.
“The vast majority of the 96,000 residents who live within our boundaries are law-abiding citizens who are supportive of police,” Supt Philippi said
“Our key message during this operation is to reassure members of the community the NSW Police Force will not tolerate violence, and those responsible will be identified and brought to justice.”
More than 120 police blanketed the area on Friday night for Operation Hollydene, taking a zero-tolerance approach to bad behaviour.
The operation involved officers from Mt Druitt, PolAir, the Mounted Unit, Dog Squad, Traffic and Highway Patrol and the Trail Bike Unit. Perimeters were set up by 7.30pm to ensure anyone driving in and out of the area was spoken to by police.
Simultaneous operations were carried out at Mt Druitt train station, and checks were made at businesses and licensed premises.
The strongest police presence was in renowned trouble spots such as Piccolo Way, Shalvey, where shots were fired at passing cars in July last year.
Va Sossaiete lives on the street with her seven children. She welcomed the police presence.
“I am really scared to live here and see this all the time, it’s terrifying,” she said.
“The police come to the door and talk about gangs in the area and gang members in the street. I am scared for my children.”
Her partner, Sam Pea, also welcomed the operation.
“I feel much safer to see all the police come here,” he said. “I wish they would come every night.”
I am really scared to live here and see this all the time, it’s terrifying
Police made 17 arrests on the night and laid 20
charges for a range of offences during Operation Hollydene which locked down
Police were called in from various commands and units to participate in Operation Hollydene.
Mt Druitt Senior Constable Louise Madden was among more than 120 police to take part in the operation.