Teens terrorise city street
‘‘It’s a city problem. It’s a community issue. It affects residents in the city, particularly in the CBD - including retailers and building occupants.’’ Debbie Duncan, City Library
A spike in crime and youths congregating in Palmerston North’s city centre is causing concern for city retailers as Christmas shopping takes off.
George St business owners called a meeting a fortnight ago to discuss how to deal with youth misbehaviour in the area, particularly on the steps leading to the city library.
Groups of young teens wearing hoodies and bandannas were reportedly drinking in public, flouting the city’s ‘no smoking’ policy, intimidating passers-by, swearing, playing loud music, shoplifting and breaking into parked cars, according to retailers.
Stuart Schwartz, of Taylor-Jensen Art Gallery in George St, said the city library’s alleyway was a hot spot for the issues.
‘‘I was at work on a Sunday and there were a number of young people there with hoodies and bandannas, hollering and cussing, smoking under the ‘no smoking ‘ signs, and playing loud music. One had a hammer in his hand.’’
Schwartz said the meeting of George St retailers was one of the biggest he’d attended.
Libraries and community services gen- eral manager Debbie Duncan said that while the library had been struggling with the anti-social and illegal behaviours, it was not specifically a library or George St problem.
‘‘It’s a city problem. It’s a community issue. It affects residents in the city, particularly in the CBD - including retailers and building occupants. We suffer the same as everybody else,’’ she said.
‘‘When it is a bunch of younger people carrying out illegal activity, it’s a police issue.’’
Duncan said more than 2000 people passed through the library daily and staff worked hard to make the space welcoming and safe for everyone.
‘‘We have standards and there are certain behaviours we will not tolerate.
‘‘When people break the law, we do what other retailers do. We call the police. The issue for us is police response times.’’
She said certain individuals had been trespassed from City Library and Youth Space.
Palmerston North police Senior Sergeant Steve Crawford said police were aware of the issues in George St.
‘‘[We] will be increasing our patrols in that area during the Christmas and school holiday periods,’’ he said.
‘‘We encourage anyone who has concerns about behaviour to contact police immediately.’’
The central city had been particularly hard hit in the past week by an increase in thefts from cars.
Neighbourhood Support’s Sian Bullen implored drivers to lock their cars and not to leave any valuables inside, even if they were only going to be away from their vehicles for a short time.
Police have been called as young teens cause issues at the Palmerston North city library entrance.