The mayor of a remote Queensland border town gripped by youth crime has made a desperate plea for the ‘cycle of crime’ in his community to be broken.
Both Mayor Lawrence Springborg and Deputy Mayor Rob McKenzie of the embattled Queensland community of Goondiwindi, more than 350km west of Brisbane on the border with New South Wales, have made appeals to the community to kerb rampant youth crime.
The township has been subject to a string of break-ins and thefts, reportedly perpetrated by a gang of young criminals.
Queensland crime statistics show the growing number of vehicle thefts and property damage (Pictured) in the township
The deputy mayor has made a desperate call to arms, joining the mayor in calling for action against ‘opportunistic’ young criminals. Pictured: Thieves who used a stolen vehicle to smash their way into a Goondiwindi supermarket captured on CCTV
Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg (pictured) said police believe a single, small group of youths aged 10 to 15-years-old are behind the ‘overwhelmingly opportunistic’ thefts in the community
Queensland Police statistics show more than 600 offences were recorded in the council area of just over 6,000 people in the past six months.
Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg said police believe a single, small group of youths aged 10 to 15-years-old are behind the ‘overwhelmingly opportunistic’ thefts in the community.
‘I understand that the relentlessness of their actions might make it seem like there are a large number of offenders responsible, but the advice is that we are dealing with a small, core group of re-offenders.’ Cr Springborg said.
The mayor said special treatment given to young offenders in the state’s courts was being ‘used as a shield against personal responsibility and accountability.’
Deputy Mayor Rob MacKenzie backed up the mayor’s comments, writing in a Facebook post: ‘This is a call to ARMS…without the weapons.’
The small border town of Goondiwindi (pictured) has a population just over 6,000 but has seen more than 600 offences committed in the last six months
‘Our weapons will be our community spirit, one that can’t be broken by the actions of a few,’ he wrote, calling on members of the community to ‘rally together’ and take shifts patrolling the streets of the rural town at night.
‘We will not be held to ransom by these scumbag lowlifes and to the families of these people.’
‘If you’re harbouring these little grubs or not reporting them to the police, you’re just as bad!’
‘Let’s help the police catch these (sic) marauding band of socially unacceptable degenerates and take back our town.’
Crime in the town has ballooned from just 55 offences recorded in October last year to 120 recorded in March this year alone.
Offences of property damage, trespassing, unlawful use of cars, break-ins and thefts account for half of all crimes reported during that six-month period.
‘Let’s help the police catch these marauding band of socially unacceptable degenerates,’ the deputy mayor wrote in an impassioned social media post (Pictured: a battered stolen car)
Kununurra is located in far north WA with a population about 5,300 people (pictured)
Goondiwindi’s plight comes just days after reports a group of wild teenage delinquents causing havoc in another regional town, Kununurra in Western Australia’s far north, led to it being described as ‘unlivable’.
The township was hit by a round of vandalism and violence on Tuesday night with three businesses broken into and a police car rammed by a group of the local teenagers.
One victim of the town’s crime wave, pub owner Darren Spackman, said there was a group of people who were out-of-control and the town was effectively ‘under siege’.
His business, Gulliver’s Tavern, has been ‘targeted’ and broken into on seven separate occasions in the last month.
A group of about 15 teenagers have been on a crime spree in a remote WA town, ramming a police car on Tuesday night (pictured)
Gulliver’s Tavern owner Darren Spackman (pictured) said the town was ‘under siege’ by the group of trouble-makers
‘We’re getting really tired of making apologies for being unable to open our bar but unfortunately once again here we are… no bar or kitchen due to another break-in,’ the business posted on Facebook.
A local woman in the same community Facebook page said some businesses ‘deal with this every night’.
‘This has been continuously happening for years and years now. The police lock them up and the courts let them out,’ she wrote.
Gulliver’s Tavern was forced to close on Thursday because vandals had damaged a screen and broken a window at an entrance (pictured, Gulliver’s Tavern)
‘How can a town in Australia become unlivable all because of 14 or 15 bad eggs?’ Mr Spackman told GWN 7 News.
‘It’s got to stop. Somebody is going to get killed sooner or later, there’s just no need for it.’
Acting WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the group of teenagers weren’t out to destroy the town but suggested they were bored.
‘They see it as a game… cops and robbers… the good and the bad, it’s a game for them. They are very young. I’m talking kids from 11 up to 15,’ he told ABC Radio.
Mr Blanch said many of the teens had done stints in detention centres only to be released and cause trouble again.