Korora madness

WHAT is happening to Korora?

Once considered Coffs Harbour's premier suburb for its quiet beachside location, relaxed charm and comfortable homes, Korora is suffering a mounting wave of 'petty' urban crime that is seeing residents packing up and moving out.

Paul Meek is among them.

He says he and his young family are being driven out by a marked change in the character of the suburb.

He lists incidents ranging from noisy beach parties that leave an aftermath from discarded cans, smashed bottles and trashed parks to people urinating on driveways, smashing car windows, speeding cars that kill water birds, spray-painted graffiti and vandalised signs.

It sounds more like the streets of inner-city Sydney but Mr Meek says he is not exaggerating and the problem is continuing to worsen.

He says he recently saw a drunken teenage girl urinating on his driveway and his neighbour frightened off an intruder trying to break into Mr Meek's parked car.

He said in the past few weeks spray graffiti had appeared on residents' garden walls in Norman Hill Drive and Links Avenue, spreading from earlier graffiti attacks on public targets like park toilet blocks and electricity junction boxes.

"Enough's enough," he said yesterday.

"When we moved here six years ago it was a lovely place, a quiet family area with a village feel.

"Hills Beach has always been a site for parties. There used to be big parties at the end of school but now it's nearly every Friday and Saturday night."

Mr Meek said some residents were resorting to videotaping the activities around their properties and elderly residents had been made fearful by incidents like smashed letterboxes.

While young people are being blamed for last week's home-made bomb attack on lights at Korora's Bangalow Waters, Mr Meek also pointed a finger at parents.

He said police had a thankless task because 14-year-old children were being allowed to run around the streets at 2am and he had seen parents dropping off children with alcohol at beach parties.

Murray Campbell, whose garden wall in James Small Drive was defaced by graffiti last week, said this was the first time time in seven years in Korora he had known of any bombs or graffiti on homes.

Yesterday, a former Korora resident said the problems were of long standing.

The woman, who does not want to be named because she still fears reprisals, said she and her family had left the suburb eight years ago after gravel and rock throwing escalated into heaved half-bricks and chlorine bombs.

She said the last straw was when kerosene was poured around their timber house and they received an anonymous phone call saying they would be burnt out.

Other Korora residents this week suggested one problem was that some of the children of well-off parents in the suburb were both spoiled and bored and their parents were often absent when the problems occurred.

One woman said text messaging meant groups could get together in minutes and vanish before the police arrived.

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