Editorial: Let's make our streets safe again

By Andrew Austin

It may be idealistic, but is it too much to ask that our daughters be able to walk somewhere without some creep trying to interfere with them.

A common lament among parents these days is that security concerns have made this generation of children virtual prisoners in their own homes and yards. The days of yesteryear school holidays, when kids used to leave home at first light and return at nightfall without their mothers making frantic calls to police, seem to be well over. It is a reality, but do we need to accept it?

Hawke's Bay police are advising parents in the Pirimai area to talk to their children and "put plans in place" should they be confronted by people up to no good. This is in the wake of a sexual assault in the area last week, the third in Napier in as many months.

This latest attack, on a 17-year-old girl, happened in Woodhouse Place, near Allen Berry Ave in broad daylight at 11.30am. To make things even worse, police say the offender is a teenage boy, thought to be as young as 15.

Police believe he lives in the area and that someone will know him and the black BMX bike he was riding at the time.

It is simply unacceptable that this young criminal believes he has the right to assault a girl in this way. I am not sure as to the exact nature of the assault but even if it was at the lower end of the scale, it is conduct that needs to be stamped out. This boy needs to be caught and made an example of. Teenage boys and older men who believe this type of behaviour is acceptable need to be shown that it is not.

Obviously not all areas are danger areas and there are some suburbs in Hawke's Bay that are very safe, but why can't they all be safe? Our girls need to know that they can walk down the road safely without glancing nervously over their shoulders. This is not to say that people should be naive. Plans need to be put in place on how to deal with situations like this. But it is not only up to young girls to come up with a plan to prevent unwarranted attacks, it is also our duty as a community to watch out for unseemly behaviour.

We have the power to make our streets as safe as they once were.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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