Community role in fighting vandals

THE problem of vandalism in Yamba will not go away if attacks are left unreported.

That's the message from Yamba police Sergeant Volker Ruehe, who believes vandalism is not entrenched in the community, despite ongoing attacks in Coldstream Street.

“If you have a problem, let us know, we can then identify patterns and put more patrols on in that area,” he said.

But for one landowner in the central street whose property had copped repeated attacks, he did not see the point in reporting vandalism once the light of day had come and the perpetrators had fled the scene.

In the past six months, he has painted over graffiti on his building, re-cemented stone fencing, had his air-conditioning unit kicked in and plants ripped out - a letterbox is a thing of the past.

Another shop owner has replaced his front window four times, with vandals continuing to throw handfuls of stones at his glass shopfront.

“My insurance covers most of the damage, but I still have to fork out $500 each time they do it and I'm fed up,” he said.

One resident said that she had had enough of the noise and damage to her fences that she attributed to drunken revellers leaving licensed venues in the early hours of the morning.

“I live here because it's central, but I'm moving out,” the resident who wished to remain anonymous said.

Sammy Hunt is the Yamba Chamber of Commerce representative for the Coffs/Clarence Safety Precinct Committee, which last met in Grafton earlier this month.

The committee provides a forum for police to inform the community about what's happening at street level and about programs that are in effect. Its reports say assaults and vandalism are down.

She said that vandalism to Yamba businesses seemed to come in waves and it was a shame that minor incidents were not reported, giving police a false perception of any problem.

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