Westside Plaza management and Barrier District Police believe they’re turning the corner on youth crime at the major shopping centre, following our story on Wednesday.
Shop owners had complained of unruly behaviour from a band of youngsters, plus thefts, and even threats to burn shops down.
Police have charged three youngsters with offences committed at the centre and they have been dealt with as juveniles.
“Three vulnerable young offenders are being dealt with under the young offenders act. In addition, we have increased patrols in the area to deter further criminal activity,” Detective Acting Inspector Wayne De Vries from Broken Hill police told us.
Tim Mackinley, Chief Operating Officer of Qanta Investment Funds, which owns Westside Plaza, told us on Friday they were working with local police to swiftly turn the issues around.
“Our Centre Management team from Fortuna Asset Management, and Quanta, both take the safety and security of our patrons and tenants very seriously,” said Mr Mackinley.
“We are dedicated to upholding the highest standard of centre management and security services for our properties and will always seek to protect the interests of our tenants, customers and communities.
“Together with our retailers, we are working closely with police on these matters,” Mr Mackinley said.
“Broken Hill Police takes all reports of incidents seriously and we have been actively working to address the issues at this location,” Detective Acting Inspector De Vries told us.
He confirmed that over the past two months, police have responded to as many as two incidents a week at the shopping centre.
“We are aware that the plaza management has not yet commented on the matter, but we plan to positively engage with them to discuss the benefits of enhanced security measures,” said officer De Vries.
“Our crime management unit looks forward to connecting with management to find suitable measures to prevent future criminal activity,” he told the Truth.
Mr De Vries also highlighted the personal responsibility families have, as well as flagging the many community led programs available to children at the PCYC and other venues that might improve relationships between troubled children and the police force.
“We also encourage parents to do their part by speaking to their children and monitoring their whereabouts.
“Community programs such as Fit for Life and other activities held at the PCYC provide young people with an opportunity to build positive relationships with the police and learn about responsible behaviour. Children who are in need of more positive peer influences may particularly benefit from attending.
“By all doing our part, we can create a safer environment for everyone in the community,” says Acting Detective Inspector De Vries.
He added that prompt reporting of crimes, by either the public or shop owners, or management, is crucial to stamp out criminal activity.
“Many of the incidents that occurred at the Plaza were not reported until weeks after the event. We urge anyone who witnesses or experiences any incidents to immediately call Broken Hill Police 8087 0299.”