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South Auckland streets ruled by fear

31st July 2008

South Auckland streets ruled by fear

Sensible Sentencing Trust congratulates the residents of Vine and Blake Streets, Mangere East, for having the courage to speak out at a meeting with Police, Housing NZ, Manukau City Council, Tamaki ki Raro Trust and the Maori Wardens Association last week.

Collectively they spoke of the fear they live in since a mob of up to 20 young males has taken over a nearby bus shelter, nightly partaking in bottle fights, public drunkenness, mob violence, trespassing, theft and blatant drug use. A man who spends his time painting out graffiti on the local shops says drug-dealing, tagging and bottle-smashing are common in the thoroughfare behind the shops. Police have responded by undertaking to increase patrols in the area after dark.

SST's Spokesperson on Drug Issues, Christine Davey, says "Given that this situation is so blatant and so many involved, why has it not come to the attention of Police patrols already? Just how frequent are nightly patrols in this or any other area? Have they not already been increased since the recent spate of murders in South Auckland? Police need to be aware that this is happening, particularly as alcohol and drugs are involved - and that the Public are afraid to complain for fear of retribution.

Ms Davey hopes that all communities will be encouraged to speak out on such issues, and start taking back ownership of their streets. She says "The onus is on the Police to protect our communities, and lack of resources is not an excuse for this not to be happening. If Police do not successfully lobby for the resources they need, this kind of situation could easily escalate into more murders, and vigilante groups starting to take the law into their own hands."


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