Shattering local livelihood
A FEW seconds of mindless destruction has cost three Grafton retailers in excess of $5000 in 24 hours, prompting business owners to increase their demand for additional police patrols and CCTV.
Vandals smashed windows at Grafton Curves, Best & Less and City Centre Arcade Newsagency between April 27-28, leaving expensive repair bills in their wake and adding to an already alarming number of vandalism attacks.
Yesterday The Daily Examiner received an overwhelming response to suggestions for CCTV and improved security measures in Grafton's CBD from business owners fed up with vandalism.
"I was so angry; God I was angry," said Grafton Curves manager Maria Russ when she discovered vandals had kicked a 30cm hole in the gym's front window on Saturday night.
"Curves are looking at a $4000 repair bill to replace the glass pane and the artwork at the front of our building. I think whoever did it is an outright mongrel and they should be made to pay for the damage they have caused.
"I think installing CCTV in the main street and more police patrols on Friday and Saturday nights would act as a deterrent. These attacks make me sick."
Ms Russ said alcohol was a contributing factor in the rising number of vandal attacks on businesses in Grafton's CBD.
Best & Less store manager Tabitha Mitchell and City Centre Arcade Newsagency owner Sharron Daniel have had their Prince St businesses vandalised repeatedly since December last year.
"We need CCTV in the main street to help keep all of our businesses safe," Ms Daniel said.
"The newsagency has been vandalised three times since Christmas. I am contemplating having shutters installed on my shop windows because I am sick of constantly paying glaziers to repair damaged windows.
"CCTV is a step in the right direction and we need to reduce vandalism in Grafton."
Ms Mitchell is "all for having CCTV in Prince St".
"Best & Less has been targeted four times since the New Year, twice in one week and I hate being told the shop front has been vandalised again and again."
Grafton police duty officer Inspector Jo Reid said police would be stepping up security on Friday nights and during the weekends in a crackdown on malicious damage and alcohol-related incidents.
"Police are focusing on controlling anti-social behaviour in the Grafton CBD," she said.
"There is no reason to cause malicious damage and nothing to be gained from it.
"We want our local business owners to feel safe and I think CCTV in Prince St is a good idea."