Police crackdown on youth gangs

POLICE will up their patrols around Hampton Park Shopping Centre this week after several recent attacks involving youths.
On 25 January, the News reported gangs of youths were getting out of control.
Problems at the shopping centre escalated when Santa Claus was attacked by youths on Christmas Eve last year and had a rock thrown at his head.
A pregnant woman who worked at Civic Video was also attacked by a group of youths while another woman was smacked in the eye by a 15-year-old girl.
The attacks forced shopping centre management to more than double its security force.
This week Victoria Police announced it would be targeting anti-social behaviour in and around the shopping precinct.
Casey Police service area manager Inspector Bob Hill said in coming days there would be an increased police presence, particularly after school hours.
Insp Hill said police would be focusing on behaviour such as obscene language, property damage and graffiti.
“Police patrols of the shopping precinct will substantially increase this week with police focusing on enforcement and educating young persons on acceptable rules of behaviour, their personal responsibilities and the consequences of their actions,” he said.
“People have a right to come to Hampton Park and feel safe as they go about their shopping and everyday business.
“We will continue to focus on disorderly and criminal behaviour and any such actions will not go unnoticed.”
The new policing initiative forms part of the Nexus Policing Project, a joint partnership between Victoria Police and the Australian National University (ANU), which seeks to create problem-solving frameworks to improve community safety.
The aim of the Casey Nexus policing project is to contribute to the reduction of crime and disorder and enhance perceptions of safety within the Hampton Park shopping precinct.
Endeavour Hills Senior Sergeant Mike Jenkins is coordinating the new policing strategy, and said the initiative would help make the Hampton Park shopping precinct an even safer place for the community.
“We will work closely with these programs and the Hampton Park community, the retail networking group, local schools and service providers to focus on youth related issues and develop suitable recreational facilities for local teenagers,” he said.
“In the meantime, our youth resource officers will be out in Hampton Park, speaking with local youth and ensuring that their behaviour is acceptable.
“Parents also need to be more mindful of where their children are and what they are doing after school hours.”