Concerns over spike in Balga vandalism, gang connection suspected

Concerns over spike in Balga vandalism, gang connection suspected

THERE are concerns in Balga over a spike in vandalism on the streets, which some fear may be gang-related.

A resident who did not want to be named for fear of backlash said people needed to report any incidents of vandalism immediately so police could track patterns of behaviour.

“Stirling Council Security told us they are aware of a gang of 12 youths smashing car windows, vacant property windows, newly constructed villas’ windows and the glass veranda panels on the new Princess Street units, vandalising in the Balga and Nollamara areas on a continual basis,” she said.

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The resident said it was always beneficial when Mirrabooka police attended incidents rather than a central response team because they were aware of where the suspected offenders gathered.

A City of Stirling spokeswoman confirmed the security team was aware of a youth gang in the area called ‘The Boyz’, which may be linked to vandalism in the areas.

“While this is a police matter, the Stirling security team is working closely with the police and the Department of Child Protection to ensure this issue is addressed,” she said.

Mirrabooka officer in charge Senior Sergeant Neil Morton-Smith said a gang of youths was known to police in the area, but were not linked to the KGB (Koondoola, Girrawheen, Balga Boys) group.

“Mirrabooka Police did become aware of an increase in crime in Balga, particularly around June and July this year, and in particular for the offence of damage and theft,” he said.

Sgt Morton-Smith said police had met with several government and non-government agencies to tackle the issues.

“We are working on strategies to identify the causal factors in each family unit that is leading to the offending behaviour,” he said.

“Police are using judicial tools available to us to manage the crimes being committed but a number of other programs are in place to try to change behaviour.

“The collaborative work is ongoing, with each agency having defined responsibility and actions to address this group of youths to bring about a longer-term change.”

The Balga resident said local residents had to deal with vandalism such as smashing car windows and theft in June and July.

“Our street has been free of vandalism since unified security and police intervention in August but unfortunately, a car was targeted in November, with the driver’s window shattered,” she said. “Between now and Christmas, theft is expected to spike, so residents are reminded to keep all windows and doors locked and valuables and presents out of sight.

“Together, let’s put an end to this continued mindless and costly destruction of private property.”