Coraki residents share tales of woe at town meeting
By EMMA O'NEILL
VIC HEIBERG had his car stolen recently. The police found it and returned it. But it had been damaged. One afternoon Vic was in his driveway fixing it himself.
Midway through the job, a group of teenagers walked past, pointed to the car and asked Vic 'is this the car that was stolen a few weeks ago?'
When Vic replied it was, one of the teens told him 'well, we'll wait till you fix it and steal it again.'
Vic's story is not out of the ordinary, because Vic lives in Coraki. And the people of%Coraki are afraid.
Some 30 locals got together on Monday night to swap stories about the crime and intimidation they face almost%every day.
And these are not schoolboy pranks.
The locals shared stories of stolen and damaged cars, burglary, intimidation, dangerous driving, and one story of a youth defecating in the supermarket.
One lady remarked: "I used to walk home from work. Now I wouldn't dare."
The overriding question desperately being asked at the meeting was: "What can we do?"
Someone suggested more police. But others said they had lost faith in the force.
Not one person at the meeting knew the surname of Coraki's sergeant, and one man said: "When you call the police they don't do anything."
But the meeting's chairman, Stuart Coffin, said the police had become powerless when dealing with juvenile offenders who were protected in the courts.
Mr Coffin said another meeting would be organised during the next few days.
Local police representatives will be invited and more concrete action, such as approaching local ministers and creating petitions, will be discussed.
"I think everyone just needed to tell their story and let their frustration and emotion out at this meeting," he said.
The people appeared to leave the meeting with a sense of hope, knowing they weren't alone.