Teen pulled from bike as youth crime takes root in suburbs

 

DESPITE a successful police shock and awe surge aimed at stamping out street crime a renewed wave of offenders have taken root in the Cairns suburbs.

Last November the Greater Cairns Taskforce 2 threw 33 uniformed police at juvenile crime and street crime in the CBD and suburbs.

But Heath Sharaz, 13, has come face-to-face with the resurgent scourge on suburban streets.

Heath had ridden his bike to Raintrees Shopping Centre on December 23 to buy a few groceries.

Heath Sharaz-Gaghan 13 was knocked off his bike and robbed by other juveniles at Raintrees Shopping Centre. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Heath Sharaz-Gaghan 13 was knocked off his bike and robbed by other juveniles at Raintrees Shopping Centre. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

He would return home shaken; mugged by children not much older than himself.

"I saw there were two boys sitting down next to my bike; I unlocked it and started to ride off and heard them running behind me," Heath said.

"They grabbed me by the bag on my back, pulled me off and took my bike.

"The security guard rang mum after it happened - he said he knew the person who had done it, he did not seem surprised; it had happened before."

Queensland Police Superintendent Geoff Sheldon. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Queensland Police Superintendent Geoff Sheldon. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Superintendent Geoff Sheldon said youth crime required constant vigilance to combat.

"We have some ongoing issues and we are trying to address them but we have ups and downs," he said.

"We are looking at new approaches - we hit it short and sharp with Cairns Task Force 2."

Street offenders had become emboldened as police were diverted to quell riots in Cape York on New Year's Day.

"We took some resources for Aurukun," Supt Sheldon said.

"We have seen that if we take our foot off the gas for a second there is an immediate response.

"We are reassessing to make sure our focus is in the right place at the right time - we need to jump on it straight away."

Division 4 Councillor Terry James said his constituents had grown increasingly frustrated at the growing street crime.

"The (juvenile offenders) are very bold," Cr James said.

"They don't care, there is absolutely no deterrent whatsoever these days.

"The system is a revolving door."


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