Tyres slashed at Burrangiri Centre, as Weston Creek vandalism bill hits $60,000

Tyres slashed at Burrangiri Centre, as Weston Creek vandalism bill hits $60,000

Tyres at an aged care centre in Rivett were slashed in the past week, bringing the damage bill from a week-long vandalism spree across Weston Creek to more than $60,000.

Opposition leader and shadow police minister Jeremy Hanson has called for the government to broaden the police force in response to the rampage, but the government says the incidents were not indicative of a broader trend.

Vulnerable groups across Weston Creek have been targeted as part of vandalism spree over the past week, with a kindergarten, a school for the deaf and a retirement community all targeted.

Dozens of broken windows, smashed pots, damaged equipment and vandalised classrooms were among the damage inflicted, which victims estimate will cost about $60,000 to repair.

On top of that, tyres on two cars and a bus were slashed at the Burrangiri Aged Care Plus Respite Centre, a spokeswoman for ACT Policing said.

She said the incident had happened on the night of Tuesday September 30 and was reported the next day, around the same time as vandals caused thousands of dollars of damage at a Rivett retirement community.


The ACT Policing spokeswoman said while there was nothing to suggest at this time the same culprits were behind all three incidents, they could not rule it out.

An Education and Training Directorate spokeswoman said the repairs at both Noah's Ark and Chapman Primary School were estimated to be $40,000 all up, while retirement community resident said they were looking at bills of about $5000.

Chief executive of the Shepherd Centre Jim Hungerford, who drove to Canberra from Sydney to inspect the damage, said he estimated the damage at the ACT school to be about $15,000.

"It was really shocking, the blokes who had smashed the windows had spread glass throughout the centre. There was glass over every inch of the floor. They'd really slammed into these windows," he said.

Mr Hungerford said the centre had opened on Tuesday for limited classes.

Mr Hanson said he condemned the acts of senseless violence which had been perpetrated on the Weston Creek community and the government should act quickly to resolve it.

He said police minister Simon Corbell had a responsibility to make the community feel safe and reassure them action was being taken to prevent further attacks.

"I'm concerned police are stretched. We have seen the problems with violence in Civic but the police presence in Weston and Woden is very low," he said.

"They've got to be assured that their community is safe and they need to see the perpetrators of these senseless crimes caught."

Mr Hanson, who also lives in the Weston Creek area, said the government had to ensure there was adequate prevention measures in the community.

"[We need] proper resourcing of police in our community and also of community organisations like Neighbourhood Watch, who are their eyes and ears," he said.

Neighbourhood Watch ACT confirmed that due to lack of volunteers they don't have a service running in either Rivett or Chapman.

Minister Corbell said he was dismayed and angry about the "mindless and destructive" acts. But he said the incidents were not indicative of a growing crime problem in the area.

"Crime rates in the ACT are at a 10-year low. Weston Creek has experience a downward trend in property damage," he said.

"The latest crime statistics show a 40 per cent drop in property damage reports in Weston Creek when comparing the 2013-14 financial year to the year before."

Staff from Burrangiri were contacted for the story, but did not comment.

Ben Westcott

Ben Westcott is a reporter at The Canberra Times.

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