Police and shop owners join forces to clean up area

Fortnightly meetings between shop owners and Belmont Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Peter Arancini over the past few months have led to a reduction in disorderly conduct in the area.

Pharmacist Karen Price-Patrick has worked at the Rivervale Chemist for the past 30 years and said there had been a definite improvement in the area and the great local atmosphere was slowly returning.

‘There have been a few people who have spoilt it for the rest of the residents, but they seem to have moved on, especially in the last couple of weeks,’ she said.

Butcher Jean-Pierre Dugoud from Antoine’s Prime Meats said alcohol contributed to the anti-social behaviour, with drunken people making threats against customers, grabbing them in the street and in one instance throwing sand at a customer.

‘It’s been a bit better recently, but we used to have a problem every day,’ Mr Dugoud said.

A local resident, who wished to be identified only as Marion, has lived in Rivervale for 20 years but said the anti-social behaviour had become so bad she would no longer allow her two sons, aged nine and 12, to walk to the shops alone.

‘I have noticed an increased police presence, I saw the police horses the other day,’ Marion said.

Rivervale IGA owner Tony Jardim has been in the area for 23 years and sees his business targeted by thieves and anti-social behaviour on almost a daily basis.

‘From what I can see, these people who create the problems don’t even live here,’ he said.