Crime rife in Ballina CBD
THIEVES broke into Brumby's in Ballina on Monday evening before the owners arrived to do their early-hours baking.
The robbers got away with a till drawer and a small amount of money, including some in two charity jars that were on the counter.
But owners Wayne and Donna Faulkner say the incident points to a larger problem within the Ballina CBD.
Every night, they said, they are pestered by drunks as they do their baking, and if they refuse to serve them they are abused and threatened.
They said that River Street and other central areas have become a no-go zone late at night, and that it is small business owners who are paying the price.
Vandalism, violence and theft are routine occurrences once pubs and nightclubs close, they said.
Lyn Briffa, who owns lingerie outlet Wistaria Wunderland in River Street, had her shop window kicked in twice within three months.
Now she wants to see CCTV cameras installed to prevent crime and antisocial behaviour.
“I got quite a lot of signatures and petitioned the council for the cameras,” she said. “But they told me it was too expensive.”
Instead, all the cost of the crime is borne by the shopowners, she said.
Pam Nichols, owner of Brite Sparks children's clothes shop, also had her door kicked in a few weeks ago. She said it's not worth claiming for such a thing on insurance because of penalty payments.
She doesn't think that CCTV cameras are the answer and believes there is a much more deep-seated problem in the community.
Ms Nichols lives near the CBD and said: “Every Friday night on the main thoroughfares there's drinking and alcoholism. The police move them on and they just come back later. It's just terrible. People are too frightened to come out, and something serious is going to happen soon.”
Ballina Shire's general manager Paul Hickey was unavailable for comment.