Shop own­ers take a stand

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

SHOP­KEEP­ERS fed-up with be­ing has­sled by trou­ble­mak­ers are tak­ing a united stand.

San­dring­ham store and restau­rant own­ers met with po­lice, the Auck­land Coun­cil and Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port on Tues­day to come up with a plan for deal­ing with on­go­ing in­tim­i­da­tion, graf­fiti and crime in the sub­urb.

A group of ‘‘un­de­sir­able youths’’ are at the cen­tre of many of the is­sues, Mt Roskill Com­mu­nity Polic­ing Team Sergeant James Cassin says.

‘‘We know who they are and we are tar­get­ing them,’’ he says.

San­dring­ham Re­serve is a hotspot for youths who gather to drink al­co­hol.

‘‘They get in­tox­i­cated and then start ha­rass­ing people,’’ Mr Cassin says.

Some have been try­ing to sell stolen goods to people out­side shops.

Azeem Mo­hammed says the sit­u­a­tion in­tim­i­dates cus­tomers and puts them off com­ing into his restau­rant.

Some less scrupu­lous shop­keep­ers have bought the stolen property them­selves which adds to the prob­lem, Mr Cassin says.

Shub­hai Singh ar­rived late one night at the premises where he works and lives and no­ticed about six teens loi­ter­ing along the road.

Two of the youths were block­ing his front gate and he was too fright­ened to get out of his car.

He’s also caught youths tag­ging his shop.

He’s been in the area for 13 years and says people have al­ways gath­ered in the park to drink.

The first step to­wards deal­ing with the is­sues has been build­ing a busi­ness net­work so own­ers can share in­for­ma­tion with each other and po­lice, Mr Cassin says.

Busi­ness own­ers are be­ing ed­u­cated on how to tres­pass people from their premises.

A new se­cu­rity cam­era due to be in­stalled this week will sur­vey the main shop­ping area and give po­lice the up­per hand.

Mr Cassin is en­cour­aged by the num­ber of businesses that are show­ing an in­ter­est in com­bat­ing the is­sues.

‘‘Of­ten we’re chas­ing our tails a bit.

‘‘So it is good to put some so­lu­tions in place.’’

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Stand to­gether: Restau­rant owner Azeem Mo­hammed, left, Con­sta­ble Alex Taua, restau­rant owner Gau­rang Am­bani and Avon Lines, front, from Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port want to put a stop to the prob­lems plagu­ing the San­dring­ham shops. Mr Taua cov­ers San­dring­ham for the Mt Roskill Com­mu­nity Polic­ing Team.

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