Residents in fear of young troublemakers

A resident has captured some of the children on video.
A resident has captured some of the children on video.

RIVERVALE residents say they are living a nightmare as government departments handball responsibility for a group of youths terrorising their street.

Mum-of-three Deborah Sessions said the past year had been “hell” for residents who had been robbed, abused and threatened by children living in a State housing unit.

“This has become a neighbourhood nightmare,” she said.

“Up to 10 kids are roaming the streets from this unit aged between nine and 14 and none of them attend school.

“Police are here almost every day and nearly everyone on the street has been burgled at least once.”

A resident has captured some of the children on video.

Mrs Sessions said she felt like a prisoner in her own home.

“We can’t go to the local park for fear of abuse,” she said.

“My young children have been threatened and called vile names.

“So many of us are stressed and have trouble sleeping.”

Belmont police officer-in-charge Daniel Greive said that in July they launched Operation Confine to help address community concerns.

“Belmont police acknowledge there have been a number of issues confined to an area in Rivervale,” he said.

“For Operation Confine we brought in additional policing units and resources and we did get positive results.”

Police launched Operation Confine to help address community concerns in July. Picture: Stock image

Sgt Greive said Belmont Police continued to work with the Department of Housing and Communities to formulate a co-ordinated response.

“We are just one of many agencies trying to address the issues that are complicated,” he said.

Rivervale resident Roger Broinowski (82), who launched the Cam Watch program to encourage residents to install security cameras, said residents had had enough.

“I’ve been spat on, had fruit thrown at me, been told by one of the kids he’d smash my face in and my house has been robbed three times,” he said.

“I’m on watch constantly.

“We’ve had enough of the problem being handballed between government departments.”

A resident has captured some of the children on video.

Mrs Sessions said residents were frustrated at the lack of co-ordinated response from government departments.

“The police are trying so hard but because of the kids’ ages, they have little power to stop them,” she said.

“The Department for Child Protection refuse to get involved, saying that there are no children registered at the address.

“The children aren’t attending school but the Department of Education say that they cannot take action without names of the children involved.

“And the Department of Housing say I live too far from the property to have my complaints investigated.”

The Department of Housing has ordered the tenants to vacate the property next month.

But Mrs Sessions said that was simply moving the problem on.

“The government successfully took action to have them evicted but the tenants had all their bond and deposit money refunded in order to provide them the money to source a private rental,” she said.

Department of Communities assistant director general Jackie Tang said they were working with the City of Belmont and WA Police, to improve this particular complex, both for tenants and nearby residents.

“The Department provides public housing to those in greatest need and it strives to house all applicants,” she said.

“When an application is made consideration is given to both an applicant’s current circumstances as well an assessment of their previous tenancy responses.”

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