Brazen gangs menace suburb

Mean streets: A gang of youths walk along Morrison Road in Midland at 8.45pm on a Saturday night.
Mean streets: A gang of youths walk along Morrison Road in Midland at 8.45pm on a Saturday night.

A number of daylight distraction robberies have been reported and several parked cars have been seriously vandalised.

One local resident, who asked not to be named, said it was ‘only a matter of time’ before someone ‘bumps into’ one of these large gangs at night and is seriously assaulted ” or worse.

Gun Mart and Tackle, on Great Eastern Highway, had an expensive generator stolen on April 19 after two thieves planned a walk off.

‘They simply distracted staff while one of them walked out with a Yamaha generator worth $1800,’ owner Graeme Harris said.

Vision of the incident was recorded on CCTV camera and later handed over to police.

‘They don’t even care that it is on film,’ he said.

About 8.45pm the next day, a CCTV camera outside The Honda Shop on Morrison Road captured images of up to 20 youths destroying a parked vehicle.

The owner of the car arrived minutes later to find his vehicle trashed and the youths moving on.

The Honda Shop proprietor Eddie Peters said the group ‘walked up to the vehicle and wilfully trashed it just three minutes before the owner arrived.’

This incident was also captured on CCTV.

The large group could have bashed the car owner, one local resident said.

Mr Peters urged other business owners to report any suspicious or potentially dangerous behaviour to local police.

‘We, as a business community, have to take a stance against these crimes and reporting them is the only way the police are able to piece together who the people are that are doing it,’ he said.

Several other members of the Swan Chamber of Commerce have contacted the chamber about organised gangs stealing from and vandalising businesses.

Police Minister Liza Harvey came to Midland before the State election to specifically address the concerns of local shop owners to rising crime rates in Midland.

She spoke to them at length about the problem and the police role in monitoring and restoring order to the precinct.

‘I take these incidents very seriously,’ she said.

Ms Harvey was in the area at the invitation of Member for the Eastern Metropolitan Region Alyssa Hayden.

Mrs Hayden said she kept in regular contact with Midland detectives about reported crime incidents.

‘It is so important to keep reporting incidents of property damage and theft to police,’ she said. ‘And send the CCTV footage in as well, so police can continue to gather intelligence.

‘It is footage from CCTV cameras that enables police to act and follow through,’ she said.

Mrs Hayden urged shop owners to call the Police hotline on 131 444 to report incidents.

Gun Mart’s Mr Harris said security was costing his business an extra $1000 a month.

‘(But) I need to see what the police are doing with the CCTV footage because spending this money is no good unless it is followed through,’ he said.

WA Police Union president George Tilbury said Midland was the busiest police station in the East Metropolitan District.