Police warn young gangs
POLICE have launched a crackdown on anti-social behavior at Castletown after two rival gangs squared off in front of frightened shoppers recently.
A brawl erupted between two large groups of teenagers after a war of words spilled over during Thursday night trading.
The confrontation was allegedly spurred on by a series of taunts through social networking site Facebook.
Police launched Operation Avon this week in an attempt to deter any further incidents at the popular shopping precinct.
Mundingburra police officer-in-charge SeniorSergeant Graeme Paterson said centre management was fed up with wayward youths.
‘‘ Police are working in conjunction with security at the centre to deter any further incidents,’’ he said.
‘ ‘ Centre management h a s r e c e i v e d s o m e feedback from customers who are unhappy about what has been going on.
‘‘ Obviously they are determined to ensure the venue remains safe.’’
The operation, to run for a month, will look at the need for increased presence at s hopping centres in the future.
Police carried out more than 20 street checks and issued two move-on orders during Thursday’s operation launch.
Sen-Sgt Paterson said the crackdown was already producing benefits.
‘‘ The number of youths ( s poken t o) r emained high this week, but they were well aware of the f act t hey were being monitored by police,’’ he said.
‘‘ The operation is our response to address the issues before there is a chance for the situation to escalate.
‘‘ The majority of young people want to go out with friends and have a good time.
‘‘ As we see in a lot of situations, there are a select few who ruin it for the rest.’’
The operation is set to follow an increased level of police presence across the city’s major shopping precincts during peak hour.
Officers have been allocated to patrol Stockland and Willows shopping centres to deter the onset of similar issues.
Sen-Sgt Paterson said g a n g - r e l a t e d v i o l e n c e w a s n ’ t i s o l a t e d t o Castletown.
‘‘ We want to send a clear message to youths who go out with trouble in mind that we will be there and will not hesit a t e t o t a k e a c t i o n against offences in shopp i n g c e n t r e s a c r o s s Townsville,’’ he said.