Youth crime wave
Community concern at rise in offences
POLICE say they are aware of a rise in youth crime in the New Norfolk area, and are taking steps to prevent it amid growing community concern.
The community is up in arms about a perceived crime rise in the region.
A resident, who did not wish to be named for fear of retribution, said the community was demanding answers from the council and the police about what action would be taken.
“Because of the issues with some of the youths up in New Norfolk, it’s gotten to a point where the community doesn’t really feel safe anymore, they don’t feel like they have rights,” the resident said. “This is the first time in a very long time that the community has felt unsafe and felt helpless.”
A petition has been started at the New Norfolk Newsagency to have the town’s police station permanently staffed.
Inspector George Cretu, from the Bridgewater police division, which has responsibility for New Norfolk, said the public’s perception of a rise in youth crime was accurate.
“We’ve noticed a number of offences ranging from vandalism to property crime in and around New Norfolk in par- ticular over the last three to six months,” Insp Cretu said.
There have been two public assaults in New Norfolk since July this year, down from four at the same period last year.
But there have been 20 instances of property damage, compared with seven last year, and eight home burglaries, up from three from July to October last year.
Insp Cretu said most property damage could be attributed to the youth cohort, aged from 13 to 19 years old. He said police were taking steps to combat the rise.
“We’ve revised our shift structures there, so that our start and finish times aren’t as predictable,” Insp Cretu said.
“We’ve had extra patrols up there from outside of the area at odd times and to supplement the current police there.
“We’ve also had a concerted ... effort from the criminal investigation branch.
“People will see some highprofile patrols over the next month or so up there, particularly in the New Norfolk CBD, and we’re also working closely with the [New Norfolk high] school.”
Derwent Valley Mayor Martyn Evans said the council could work with the Derwent Valley PCYC, and had installed CCTV cameras earlier in the year, but other than that its hands were tied.
But he said the council was lobbying the State Government for more police, and urged residents to do the same.
“Being so close to an election ... it’s a good time for us and people to advocate for a 24-hour police station to be in the Valley,” he said.
Insp Cretu said police had made a number of arrests of young people recently, and committed them bail condi- tions to try and control their behaviour, but he said there was no simple solution.
“Dealing with youth crime is difficult, and what we have seen is that New Norfolk and the Derwent Valley probably doesn’t have some youth services, or didn’t have them until the PCYC got there, and it’s going to take a little while for that to have effect,” Insp Cretu said.
Insp Cretu and Cr Evans urged residents to ring police and report any crime.
Police can be contacted on 131 444 and Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.