Solution needed for youth problems
IT WOULD seem that the problem of youth crime and anti-social behaviour is an issue that concerns many people across the Coffs Coast.
The following views were among the emails received in the wake of last Saturday’s front page story about a looting spree by three teenage girls in Bellingen.
Andrew Bevan wrote:
“It saddens me that a small number of kids in our town choose to wreck things for everyone else. These idiots do not represent the majority of Bellingen youth! We have a large number of wonderful young people in Bellingen who do the right thing and stay out of trouble.
“What is the solution? A good start would be to make some of the parents of these trouble-makers accountable for their kids’ actions. All too often we hear in the media that values, manners and responsibility should be taught more at school. This is not the job of teachers, it is the realm of parents.
“Secondly, we need more police in Bellingen. Years ago, towns like Bellingen had a ‘live-in’ cop who become a respected true local. Just having a more permanent, highly visible police presence in this town would go a long way.
“Thirdly, Bellingen Council might have to consider some sort of curfew. Drastic I know, but at least it would provide the legal means to do something.
“Laws need to be tougher on anti-social behaviour. Police need to be able to have the powers to charge these bastards. Magistrates need to be willing to convict them as criminals, not ‘misguided’ youth.
“We need more youth activities and facilities in Bellingen. At the moment there is very little for our kids to do on Saturday nights; no wonder drugs are the easy way out.
“I am appalled about reports of vigilante groups.
“Knee-jerk reactions such as this aren’t the answer.”
Ziggy Koenigseder said the problem of underage drinking and loutish behaviour has long been an issue in Bellingen:
“Surely the parents, the licensees of premises and liquor outlets as well as police and council must take some responsibility for this drunken behaviour. If we had zero tolerance and more police presence a lot of this damage could be avoided.
“We need a permanent 24-hour police presence in town. We need zero tolerance of drinking in the streets of the CBD and a police van in Hyde Street between 9pm and 1am on Friday and Saturday nights.
“Troublemakers should be taken home to face their parents, who should be made take some responsibility as well.
“We need to have a meeting with the locals and businesspeople, including liquor outlets, to get feedback on how to solve the problem.”