FIRE crews were breathing a sigh of relief yesterday following an incident-free weekend at West Tamworth.
There have been a whopping 29 fires in just 50 days at the hot spot, leaving residents living in fear and authorities at their wits’ end, The Northern Daily Leader reported on Saturday.
Seventeen calls to local fire brigades since September 1 have been for suspicious blazes burning in Green St and in nearby streets.
“I think the kids are bored because they’ve got nothing to do,” Coledale Residents’ Association secretary Annette Marshall said.
“When they’re suspended they’ve got nothing to do, so they go on the rampage.
“It is a problem.
“Some of the kids know what they’re doing, but some of the young ones just do it because they’re following the others.”
Ms Marshall said local kids were being destructive because there was nothing else to do in the community, but she conceded it was no excuse.
“Some of the parents have to step forward and take responsibility for what the kids have been doing,” she said.
“People need to speak up – if they know who these kids are, then tell the police and let them know.”
The residents’ association admits many locals live in fear of reprisal attacks on their home should they dob offenders in.
Ms Marshall says there is a code of silence, but breaking it will be the only way to change the behaviour.
“It needs to be people who know who is doing this sort of thing,” she said.
“They’re not game enough to say anything, because they think they’re going to get their house trashed. I know they live in fear, they do. But people need to speak up.”
Government funding to boost education, entertainment or programs for youths could help to target the antisocial behaviour.
A distraction or entertainment will get them off the streets, Ms Marshall argues.
“They need somewhere to go or something to do,” she said.
“Have a sports day or something like that with them to keep them busy.
“There is a big park there that no one uses, so there is nothing for them to do.
“That could help to get them on the right track and if anything happens they’re to blame.”