Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

CURFEW FOR OUR TEENS? SHOULD THERE BE A CURFEW FOR U16s? WHAT YOU THOUGHT: PAGE 4 Call for Curfew to Deal with Gangs; Gangs of Up to 20 Children Causing Mayhem on Streets

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

CURFEW FOR OUR TEENS? SHOULD THERE BE A CURFEW FOR U16s? WHAT YOU THOUGHT: PAGE 4 Call for Curfew to Deal with Gangs; Gangs of Up to 20 Children Causing Mayhem on Streets

Article excerpt

Byline: Rebecca Lollback rebecca.lollback@northernstar.com.au

FED-UP Ballina residents are calling for a curfew for children under 16, following a spike in fires, break-ins and vandalism.

It comes as one Ballina security guard, who is on the front line night after night, urged residents to stop talk of vigilante action and work with police, because it's "only a matter of time" before someone is seriously hurt or killed as a result of the youths' reckless behaviour.

He says the problems have been escalating for more than six months.

There are "gangs" of up to 20 children, some as young as 10, that brazenly roam the streets at night.

They try to break into cars, steal items from front yards, smash bottles and hurl abuse at anyone who dares to question them.

Rocks and bottles have been thrown at cars crossing Missingham Bridge and on Kerr St. Some children have been almost hit playing "chicken" with cars on busy roads.

Clothes have been stolen off washing lines. Pets have been poisoned.

Earlier this year there was a report of "heavily intoxicated" youths lighting fires after climbing out of their bedroom windows while their parents were asleep.

In a more serious incident, a juvenile was last week arrested and charged for allegedly pointing a replica gun at a security guard at Ballina Fair.

Now residents have had enough and are calling for action.

Kenneth Pretty posed the idea of a curfew on the Ballina Crime Reports Facebook page, asking: "Is it time to introduce a night time curfew for all children 16 and under in Ballina?

"There was a time when parents didn't have to worry about their kids out at that time of night. Sadly, those days are long gone."

When we posed the question on The Northern Star Facebook page, we had a mixed response.

Some residents worried that a curfew in Ballina would punish "good" children and have a negative impact on youths who had jobs or played sport at night. …

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