community response to Youth Assaults, theft, vandalism, bullying: ‘We can do better than this’
Instances of teenagers assaulting other teenagers along with numerous instances of vandalism and alleged stand-overs to steal property has brought a consensus in the area, as a community, and as individuals, that ‘we can do better than this’.
Every generation since humans began has had to guide and work with their children to help them become all they want to be. Ignored, the problem grows. Addressed the unhappy get their happy back. This hasn’t changed – every generation needs to help their children grow up, not just grow tall.
In response to the questions ‘Why is this happening?’ and ‘What can we do about it?’ feedback collated from ages ranging from teenagers to grandparents and parents, with every age identifying these, is:
Why it's happening:
- The person is having problems they cannot deal with within themselves or there is a problem at home they cannot deal with and this is a reaction to that; – ‘these are cries for help’, and ‘if they cannot have a family at home they will seek to make one outside of the home with peers and make stupid mistakes’
- Kids and adults: The person has access to alcohol and/or drugs and these are diminishing their capacity for clear thought and better choices for their self, as shown through their actions. Close down the drug dens and stop the access to alcohol.
- Kids: This generation has a lot of anxiety about the future, as experienced through witnessing recent bushfires and an incessant onslaught of reports about environmental destruction through climate change and animals now in jeopardy of extinction with no clear response from government to stop this – we want action now, not to be the witnesses of 'the end of the world'
- Kids: Recent ‘Covid’ experiences, along with estimates that our and our as yet unborn children’s generation will be paying off their debt, are diminishing visualising or moving towards any kind of ‘future’ or even trying – ‘what’s the point?’
- Kids: There’s nowhere to go and nothing to do so everyone is just going into the parks and reserves and getting drunk and on drugs
- Kids and parents: Sometimes someone is having a bad time and doesn’t know how to move forward to something constructive or positive – it’s got nothing to do with the parents, school, or anything else, they just feel ‘stuck’ and act badly
- Kids: ‘'there’s an us vs. them thing going on where older teenagers are standing over younger teenagers who they think are ‘rich kids’ and stealing their phones, branded clothing, even shoes – they don’t care that we’ve gone out and earned it, they just want to take it, and they threaten you, that if you say anything, they’ll ‘bash’ you – and it just gets worse, at school and on the streets around my home, so we don’t say anything’’ – ‘kids in private school uniforms are targets going to and from school’
- Kids and Adults: There’s no ‘time out’ anymore – no one switches off their devices long enough to have a real ‘time off or time out’ and just BE.
- Adults: No boundaries and no rules being invested so they have no structures/guidance on how to be how they really want to be or try to reach for their own potential in small steps or bigger pictures = no inspiration to go after their own dreams/passions
What we can do about it:
- ‘We need somewhere to go and something to do’ – (older); ‘why can’t we have some dances and bands as we did when growing up’ – ‘Blue Light Discos’ (mentioned 100+ times) – a ‘we want a PCYC club in Pittwater; the skate park at Mona Vale was great, what we really needed was a space for our kids locally where they can swap heated-up adrenalin for endorphins, swap assaulting each other for using a punching bag and having someone there, with great programs in place, to listen and guide, these kids aren’t going to go to a youth hub if they’re feeling ‘off’ – they need to kick out without damaging themselves or others’
- ‘Stop having a go at the parents, some of us have tried and tried and tried, you can have 4/6 kids and one just has problems. No matter what you do they just spiral, get in with ‘mates’ in the same mindset and it takes a lot of time and a lot of work for them to find their way out.’ (several of these) - on the other side; ‘why don’t parents know where their children are? How can I be meeting your 14 year old, drunk in the street in mid-afternoon, or trying to break into the school I’m cleaning at 4am?’
NB: kids sneak out windows during the night, tell mum or dad they’re having a sleepover at ‘such and such a place’, are the children of single-guardian/carer households where a wage-earner may be absent, earning the bread they will eat. That old adage about it taking a village to raise a child comes in there somewhere - it is your business to look out for and after the young, as well as the old.
What we can do about it (continued):
- Stop putting these kid faces and names on the news or in the paper, it has a bad effect on them and their families – some even get worse as a reaction, their peers think they’re ‘heroes’. ‘There needs to be less invasive/less sensationalised reporting and more responsibility around this – media bleeps!’.
- Would be great to see more ‘meet a cop coffee’ events return so the kids know the police are there for them.
- Get Neighbourhood Watch and Safe Houses going again
- We need a permanent annual series of events for young people to get engaged in – there’s been no youth events in Pittwater since the council amalgamation – no one wants to go to bleep bleep bleep Dee Why, bleep bleep bleep* this ‘council’ – takes all our $, nothing comes back’.
- We want a fully staffed and fully ‘manned’ police station at Mona Vale and bring back one at Avalon too.
- We need the uniformed transport security guards back on the buses, there’s problems happening there as well.
In response to the push for fully ‘manned’ police stations within Pittwater the response indicates that they’d rather be on the road and in the cars, policing; technology has advanced these vehicles so much that the data and resources available in them mean being in the car is better then being at the desk and also cuts out that time to get mobile and get to the scene to attend an incident.
The Police Transport Command are still active and will be on and around our buses – they don’t always wear a uniform either.
The main message is our Police are taking these assaults and vandalism very seriously, as seen in the remarks made by the NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fuller APM on 2GB radio on Friday morning when the subject of our area was raised.
“Can I just give the residents of the northern beaches area, and there's 250,000 people who live in that area, that crime is not up. In fact, in most cases, over five years, crime is trending down... things like break and enter have halved over five years – so the police there are doing great work.
“But there has been, not just in weeks or months but over years, youth issues in that area and these are local kids who live in local houses with local families who are up to mischiefs. And they get in and around the bus stops and some of the take away food venues and create dramas.
“Now there has been an escalation in their violence and their activity, they’re allegedly stealing clothes and phones off other kids, and I guess one of the key messages from me, (and) from the local Commander Pat Sharkey is that we would ask these young people, tell your parents, please report the crime so we can take action.
“From this weekend there will be a significant increase in police coming in from other areas, and we’ll be dealing heavily with these kids.
“So the message for these kids is that your time is done.
“And for the parents of these kids – please don’t ring and complain to me Monday that their kids have been treated unfairly.
“We get in this sort of debate about what’s a gang and what’s not a gang. They’re certainly not a target of our organised criminal groups – but they’re just a group of delinquents that need to be dealt with.''
Pittwater MP Rob Stokes said this week “I’m always open to advice from our local police on additional ways we can address youth crime and prevent antisocial behaviour.
“Our local police officers do an incredible job and they have strong connections with our local schools, community groups and support agencies.
“There’s no doubt youth crime issues are best prevented, responded to and resolved through a holistic approach – including families, police, schools and youth services.
“There’s simply no excuse for the examples of violence we’ve recently seen. This behaviour has no place in our community.
“I fully support our local police and I’ll continue to back them 100% with any requests they have.’’ Mr. Stokes said
So that’s the gist on record of all received; as individuals, and as a community, we know we can do better than this.
But who will be putting their hand up to organise a Neighbourhood Watch information session here though – and who is going to approach the PCYC to see if they’ll take a chance on us, and if so, who is going to organise a fundraiser to meet the costs?
All you Administrators of social media community forums, all you Presidents of community Residents Associations, Council; (probably already working on it and about to announce something), all us parents and youngsters too – what can we all now do to help to shift this for this generation - to not only help them grow tall but help them grow up?
NB: the NSW Custody Statistics: Quarterly update December 2020 were released on Wednesday, February 3rd, and show the youth detention population is currently at historic lows. In December 2020 there were 184 young people in custody, a 32% drop, or 86 fewer young people, than in December 2019. Full report available at: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_2021/mr-custody-Dec-2020.aspx
Operation Summer Safe targets anti-social behaviour - Northern Beaches
Sunday, 07 February 2021 03:09:30 PM
Police are targeting anti-social behaviour and crime hot spots as part of an ongoing operation on the Northern Beaches.
The Operation Summer Safe is being conducted by officers from the Northern Beaches Police Area Command, with assistance from the North West Metropolitan Region Operational Support Group, the Public Order and Riot Squad, the Mounted Police Unit and the Public Transport Command.
Between Friday 5 February to Saturday 6 February 2021 the operation targeted Manly Wharf (and surrounding East and West Esplanade), as well as public parks, beaches and licensed premises from Manly to Palm Beach.
Over the two days, police responded to 140 incidents; 32 people were searched, 26 people were issued with move-on directions and 59 business inspections were conducted.
One person will be issued with a criminal infringement notice for offensive behaviour, while a second person will be issued a court attendance notice for littering with aggravation.
One person has been charged with drug-related offences and another person was charged with assault.
A number of teenagers were also referred to RISEUP programs during the operation.
Northern Beaches Police Area Commander, Superintendent Patrick Sharkey, said the operation was part of a proactive response to anti-social behaviour in high-risk areas.
“We are really focusing on engaging with the local community to do what we can to prevent crime from occurring in the first place,” Supt Sharkey said.
“Youth crime is a concern and we need the community’s help as we respond to this ongoing challenge.
“We have a number of proactive programs in place to engage with youth in the area, but we also need the community’s help to report crime when they see it. I’d really encourage people to come forward and speak to us. Police are there to help and cannot investigate a crime they’re not aware of.
“We will continue our focus on proactively identifying these problem areas and getting officers out there in high-visibility operations, to both deter and detect crime.”
Operation Summer Safe has been ongoing since December 2020 and will continue throughout the rest of February 2021.
Newport Attack: Homes Searched
January 29, 2021:Northern Beaches Police Area Command
Last week we reported on an attack at Newport that saw a man treated in hospital for injuries to his chest and face.
Witnesses told police he was kicked while on the ground of the grassed area between the beach and busy Barrenjoey Road.
Early inquiries led to the arrest the next day of a 17-year old local youth.
He was charged with affray and refused bail pending an appearance at court.
Now, Northern Beaches police have executed search warrants at three homes in the suburb, seizing property including a knife.
The investigation continues.
Teenager charged following bus stop assault - Mona Vale
Friday, 29 January 2021 08:25:58 AM: NSW Police
A teenager has been charged following an assault in Sydney’s Northern Beaches yesterday.
About 2.30pm (Thursday 28 January 2021), officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command were patrolling Mona Vale when they saw a boy allegedly being assaulted at a bus stop on Barrenjoey Road.
Police have been told a 16-year-old boy was waiting for a bus when he was approached by two teenagers.
It’s alleged one of the teens struck him with a glass bottle, while the other hit him with a stick.
The boy was treated at the scene for a laceration to the head and taken to Northern Beaches Hospital.
Two teenagers – both aged 14 – were arrested and taken to Manly Police Station.
One teenager was charged with reckless wounding – in company and granted conditional bail to appear before a children’s court on Wednesday 17 February 2021.
The second teenager was released pending further inquiries.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.