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Gang violence must be met head-on by community

Media release
25 October 2005

Gang violence must be met head-on by community

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis is to meet with Counties Manukau Police tomorrow to discuss the recent outburst of gang violence in parts of Manukau and to try to find a solution.

Sir Barry says the meeting will be part of an ongoing process as the situation cannot get allowed to get worse. “The violence involves only a small group of people but my message to these strutting juvenile delinquents involved is that they are not in charge of the streets – we are.”

Working towards a safer community is one of the key social policy goals of the Manukau City Council.

Sir Barry says, “The solution to this problem must come from the community working together, including the families of those involved, most of whom are still in school.

“There has always been an element of juvenile offending but only recently have these people taken to joining up with school-based gangs and brawling on the streets over trivial disputes, armed with baseball bats and knives. It was inevitable someone would die and I only hope the weekend death is the last.

“These teenagers are imitating the ideas from American hip hop and gangsta rap, which is a complete fantasy world that has no place in New Zealand. It is ludicrous that these so-called gangs are claiming part of the city as their “turf”. The community owns these streets, not them. If these teenagers think they are outlaws who can take over our city they are in for a rude shock.

“Everyone has a right to walk the streets without being confronted and menaced just for being there. Merely joining a gang puts you in danger as you immediately become a target for violence and intimidation. But it’s inevitable that innocent bystanders get caught up in such senseless violence, as happens overseas.”

ENDS

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