Yobs show no reserve
1 February 2011
Loud voices of drunken teenagers echo among houses where people are trying to sleep. Cars do burnouts in the park and people climb streetlights.
The residents around Wainamu Bay Reserve in Te Atatu Peninsula deal with this regularly, and they say it must stop.
"It's been happening for as long as I've lived here," says Mike Roberts. "But, over the last two to three years, it has got increasingly worse."
Dr Roberts says people congregate at a picnic area which is hard to see from the road.
"A couple of weeks ago my wife and I went for a walk around the reserves. We were walking past there at about 8.45pm, and there were three cars and 10 guys standing with drinks in hand. They started yelling and tearing up the turf with their cars."
Dr Roberts says the neighbours do their best to record the vehicles' licence plate numbers.
"I have a high-powered torch that I shine on the people doing doughnuts, but once they're lit up they like to make a getaway."
In the last two years, Dr Roberts and the local neighbourhood support group have worked with councils and police to remedy the problem.
"Waitakere City Council did install bollards, but they don't stop people congregating and, over the weekends, the police are busy with other emergencies.
There are a lot of young families around here and it's not the place for this kind of behaviour."
Neighbourhood support coordinator Christine Roberts says both Auckland Council and police have listened to the residents' concerns. "They're all anxious that people shouldn't have to put up with this."
Auckland Council's manager of community development, Louise Mason, says the council will continue to keep an eye on the situation.
"The residents were advised to call the police when there are incidents of antisocial behaviours or disorder in the area occurring, and the council's call centre should be notified for all rubbish and glass removal within the area," she says. "The bollards installed in December 2009 by the former Waitakere City Council have significantly curbed the incidents of youth congregating and drinking in the area and police are doing regular patrols at night."
Henderson-Massey Local Board chairwoman, Vanessa Neeson, says she believes the bollards are enough at this stage to help with the nuisance.
"The police don't believe that a liquor ban is necessary at this stage," she says, "but we will look at other options if we need to."
Pick up the phone
Problems in your local reserve? It is best to call 111 if there are disruptions to the peace in your street or park, rather than calling a local police station directly. This way, the emergencies can be prioritised. If you can get licence plate numbers, pass these to police with a description of the vehicle.