Anger over graffiti, bin vandalism
ANDREW Fraser says it’s only a matter of time before a building goes up in flames or even worse someone dies if rampant vandalism in our city continues.
The member for Coffs Harbour reckons a police blitz is the only way to stop the type of ugly street crime which happened outside his office overnight on Thursday.
He arrived at work yesterday to discover a wheelie bin had been torched and the walls covered in graffiti.
“I want a police blitz, I want foot patrols after hours, I want police out here stopping this,” said Mr Fraser as he examined the remains of the bin in Park Avenue Lane.
“I’ve already lost my house to fire. I don’t want my office going as well.
“It’s more luck than good management we haven’t lost a building along here.”
Mr Fraser said the nearby Commonwealth Bank had come close to destruction earlier this year when bins were set on fire at the rear of the building. The scorch marks on the brickwork are still visible.
“These buildings along here could be vulnerable to being burnt down but it’s not just here – it’s everywhere in Coffs,” he said.
“And the graffiti alone is appalling. One way to stop this is to have police come in and nail them and drag them before the courts.
“These trouble-makers need to be apprehended and sentenced by the courts, not given a slap on the wrist.”
Mr Fraser said he wanted a reprise of a 1994/95 operation when Sydney police hit our streets to target anti-social behaviour.
“A troop of police officers came to Coffs Harbour for a month and cracked down on illegal alcohol use, drugs, vandalism and graffiti,” he said.
“This blitz was a huge success and for at least six months after, incidents of this nature were all but non-existent
“I want a visible police presence. They closed Sawtell Police Station but they still don’t have a full roster in Coffs Harbour, even after transferring those police into Coffs.
Chief Inspector Ray Bell said officers would soon return to Sawtell Police Station.
“That’s because of an increase in police at Coffs Harbour due to some returning to work and transfers,” Mr Bell said.
“The use of Sawtell police resources in Coffs Harbour was always a temporary solution so we could provide a police response for the entire community.”
On the vandalism front, Mr Bell said malicious damage was an opportunistic crime normally committed on the spur of the moment.
“It doesn’t take many grey cells to light up a bin,” he said.
“Police are aware of this type of offence and high-visibility policing is one of our tools but we are also looking at increased vigilance from the community.
“Parents also need to know where their kids are at night.”
One police strategy, he said, was to target repeat offenders.
“We have had 130 bail compliance checks in Coffs Harbour and Sawtell so far this year and police move-ons in Coffs Harbour are up by five per cent this year.
“Also, our clear-up rate for malicious damage offences in Coffs Harbour is 13 per cent.”