Angry Esk Valley locals call for more support to deter crime

Wed, Mar 1

Some Esk Valley locals are unhappy with a lack of support for the community in Cyclone Gabrielle's wake.

At a public meeting last night, residents discussed concerns about crime in the region.

There were calls for a curfew and for the army to be called in to help deter crime.

Eskridge resident Tracy Jensen said she's "a bit scared" that "with this rain, [the valley's] gonna become a sloppy mess again".

"Some people, I think the adrenaline's gonna start wearing off, and you can see the emotion starting to creep in and people are starting to get angry about things, when everyone's doing what they can."

Louise Parsons, who organised last night's meeting, said people are feeling "very, very vulnerable" and "like we've been missed".

"Security has to be at the top of the agenda when it comes to recovery," she added.

Speaking to Breakfast this morning, Police Eastern District commander Jeanette Park responded to the concerns.

"The feeling in the room [last night], it was really heartening early on in the meeting, when there was a round of applause for my staff on the ground and the work they are doing," she said.

"I acknowledge the pressure they're under, the vulnerability, they're in a really tough space."

But Park said she's "absolutely comfortable" with the police staff on the ground in Esk Valley.

She urged people to report crime and said there had been an increase in suspicious activity reports, "which is really good to see", after there were difficulties for people filing reports earlier due to communications issues in the wake of the cyclone.

"I want people, if they are feeling unsafe... come back to us and talk to us, but please don't take matters into your own hands.

"I won't tolerate any unlawful behaviour, any criminal behaviour in my communities."


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