ACT News

Plants pulled up and windows smashed at Rivett retirement home

Senior residents of a Rivett retirement community say they no longer feel safe in their own homes, after a vandalism rampage across their unit complex on Tuesday last week.

Vandals uprooted plants, smashed pots and cut hoses across the 70-unit community, in a destructive rampage that residents said left no home unaffected.

Judith Young, Heather MacKell, and Ian Barlow in the vege garden of their retirement village in Rivett.
Judith Young, Heather MacKell, and Ian Barlow in the vege garden of their retirement village in Rivett. Photo: Rohan Thomson

It came only four days before another vandalism spree, which left dozens of windows smashed and classrooms defaced in a kindergarten, a preschool and a school for the hearing impaired.

A number of residents were also left with broken fences and damaged cars after Saturday night, with one Rivett family waking to find bitumen coating had being poured over their work truck.

A spokesperson for ACT Policing said there was no indication at this time that the two incidents were connected, although they could nott rule it out.

Ian Barlow, aged 82, who has lived at the Wallington retirement community in Rivett for two and a-half years, said vandals had attacked their homes on Tuesday September 30, four days before Saturday's spree.


He said they had pulled up the community's garden and thrown vegetables on the roof, smashed two birdbaths and a large number of pots as well as slashing communal hoses after turning the water on.

Mr Barlow said they also cut a fly screen off a window and then damaged the frame while trying to get into the complex's community centre.

"The woman three doors down from me said she's scared witless, because she's had two birdbaths smashed, and Pat up in the top corner she's had garden furniture thrown over her fence," he said.

The Wallington retirement community backs on to the Shepherd Centre for hearing impaired children, which was vandalised on Saturday night.

Heather MacKell, aged 73, said she could hear the vandals laughing as they smashed the windows at the preschool at the weekend.

"These ones on Saturday night... they were laughing their heads off, they were really wound up, thinking it was funny. They smashed the windows on the back of the preschool and they were laughing," she said.

Judith Young, aged 81, said such attacks had become regular over the past year, but this was by far the worst.

"I'll tell you how scared I am. I've had to put up ... security devices because I'm on the pathway and I've got a window there," she said.

"We're vulnerable, you know?"

Mr Barlow said rather than fix the damage, it would be more cost effective for the government to put up CCTV cameras on the light poles and on the corners.

Weston Creek Community Council chairman Tom Anderson said he had thought life was pretty good in the suburbs but it didn't look that way at the moment.

He said he didn't understand the 'wanton' behaviour of vandals in Rivett and Chapman.

"Why would you want to do that? Why would you want to do all this damage on a regular basis?" he said.

"It's dreadful that this has happened, dreadful in any community, but to just wantonly do that at these places is [awful]."

Mr Anderson said he didn't have a ready-made solution to the ongoing crime problems but he was worried for the community.

"It's not something that anyone should have to put up with. How we get over that is another question and why people would wantonly do that is beyond me," he said.

A spokeswoman for ACT Policing said they were still attempting to identify the perpetrators,who were believed to be four young men.

She said residents should report all property damage immediately and asked for anyone with more information about the incidents to call CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the website at