Youth crime wave: Teenage vandals caught on camera in Rolleston

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This photo was posted on the Rolleston Community Group Facebook page last week. Photo / Provided

Two teenagers were filmed tagging a wall in Rolleston in broad daylight – as concerns over rising youth crime in the Selwyn district grow.

A member of the Rolleston Community Group on Facebook uploaded the above photo of the offenders, who police say were just 14, near the Rolleston reserve.

Offenders aged 14 were also responsible for the theft of a car and other vehicle break-ins in the Prebbleton area over the weekend.

It follows the aggravated robbery at the Prebbleton Dairy last week, where the offenders were aged between 10 and 14. The police also identified them.

Police apprehended five youths on a stroll who allegedly dumped a stolen car and stole another in Prebbleton two days earlier.

One of them would also be responsible for leaving obscene graffiti on a family home.

The Prebbleton Dairy.  Photo/George Heard
The Prebbleton Dairy. Photo/George Heard

According to the police, the level of delinquency and violence perpetrated by young offenders has increased in the district.

“Social media platforms are being used to sensationalize and glorify ram raids, serious assaults and other criminal and anti-social behavior among our young people,” said District Police Crime Prevention Officer Sgt. -Chief Anna Lloyd.

“Selwyn is not exempt from this.”

Lloyd called on residents to make sure they report offenses as police rely heavily on the community.

“Police Youth Support Officers try to lead young people back to better choices by working alongside their families, but we can only address what we know,” Lloyd said.

“If you see anything, or if anything looks out of the ordinary, contact the police on 111 if urgent and happening now, or 105 if not urgent.”

Parents should also do their best to know where their children are and who they associate with.

“We see good kids getting sucked into antisocial behavior very quickly when they start hanging out in small gangs and getting into mischief,” Lloyd said.

“The hours of 3-6pm are particularly important – this is when young people congregate unsupervised and we are seeing an increase in reports of assaults etc.”

The two teenagers were filmed tagging a wall in Rolleston in broad daylight.  Photo / Provided
The two teenagers were filmed tagging a wall in Rolleston in broad daylight. Photo / Provided

Many offenders came from outside the district. The Prebbleton Dairy Thieves are believed to be a mix of local and Christchurch youngsters – one from as far away as New Brighton.

Police have also noticed an increase in the number of 11- and 12-year-olds vaping, and a growing number of children being pulled out of schools because of it.

Selwyn Community Patrol spokesman Errol Wood said the patrol is doing everything possible to increase numbers as youth crime increases, training as many new recruits as possible. There was an influx of people eager to join the patrol.

In addition, a community patrol group from Rolleston, which is relatively new, will merge with Selwyn Community Patrol, which is a member of the Community Patrols of New Zealand.

Wood said this would give the Selwyn Group even more members.

The money the Rolleston group had raised would go towards a second patrol vehicle, based in Rolleston. The current patrol vehicle is based in Lincoln.

The Selwyn Community Patrol has around 50 members now, and he expects that by the end of next year it will be around 70.

Adding each member took several months, as they had to be vetted by police and undergo on-the-job training with the current members.

Wood said there were three patrol shifts – day, evening until 11 p.m. and night from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. However, only one shift is performed each day. He expected that the anticipated growth in staff could allow two shifts a day.

The Selwyn Patrol covers much of the district, but having more volunteers will help it better keep the police informed of criminal activity in the area.

“It gives us a chance to spot the bad guys,” Wood said.

“It’s a big area, we’re only in one place at a time. It improves our chances of spotting incidents that need to be recorded.”

The patrol has had success recently, helping police following the ram raid on the Lincoln Dairy last month.

Wood said patrol members alerted police to a suspicious car in Tai Tapu, which is believed to be linked to the crime.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said he was set to speak with police this week about any issues or trends officers are facing and see if the District Council might be able to offer its support.

“I am in regular contact with our police in Selwyn, who are doing a great job of maintaining Selwyn’s record as one of the safest places to live in New Zealand,” Broughton said.

-starnews.co.nz

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