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Town asks: Where are our police?

STILL WAITING: Members of the Alstonville community are angry at the lack of policing despite a promise made 12 months ago for not just one, but two police officers permanently in the area.
STILL WAITING: Members of the Alstonville community are angry at the lack of policing despite a promise made 12 months ago for not just one, but two police officers permanently in the area. Samantha Elley

DESPITE a police officer being assigned to Alstonville at the end of August, residents are complaining the town is suffering from a high crime rate.

But a police spokesman said officers from Ballina were tasked every day to patrol the streets and he expects things to improve when a new officer arrives in early 2018.

"We will welcome a new officer and his family to the Alstonville community in mid-January," he said.

"The officer will be mostly assigned to the Alstonville area, meanwhile we are tasked up there every day and we encourage everyone to report all crime to Ballina police."

Residents are unimpressed, blaming a car fire, house break-ins, graffiti and vandalism, on a lack of police presence.

 

SPARKS FLYING: A car alight  in Alstonville, where residents are complaining about the lack of policing.
SPARKS FLYING: A car alight in Alstonville, where residents are complaining about the lack of policing. Contributed

A group of business owners, community members and a councillor met last week to vent their anger at the lack of policing in the area.

Landcare's Mal Johnson was disgusted at the vandalism of 100 trees planted in September.

"We planted 1500 trees and 100 of them were just ripped out of the ground," he said.

"That's $500 worth - not including the volunteer hours put in."

Rod Clavan of the RSL sub-branch was fed up with the acts of vandalism and terrorising of neighbours.

"A lady just out of hospital had a group banging on her door at around 9pm," he said.

Business owner Ray Smith said many of his customers had examples of property vandalised and damaged.

"Every Saturday night this 'tribe of animals' are throwing rocks, the police come but it happens again the next week," he said.

Councillor Eion Johnston said his motion in council 12months ago to for 24-hour policing has fallen on deaf ears. "With the promise of one, and then a commitment of a second officer in the area, we have not gotten that and it seems the first one is now not here," he said.

Business owner Les Wiles said the lack of policing had been very expensive for him - he spent $3000 repainting his graffitied building.

"They say it's a victimless crime, but it's not, as someone has to pay," he said.


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