Death threats, property damage and threats made against children have left residents in one Wanganui suburb angry and confused.
They say boy racers are using some Wanganui East streets as their own private raceway and are angry at what they claim is a slow response by Wanganui District Council to their concerns.
One resident, who only spoke to the Chronicle under condition of anonymity, said he and his family had been subjected to death threats from boy racers, his children had been threatened, wheel nuts on his car loosened and petrol poured over the front steps of their home.
The family had lived in the area for about two years and he said that he and locals had been complaining to council for about a year-and-a-half.
"I'm terrified someone is going to get killed," he said.
He reckoned the boy racers were doing speeds of more than 180km/h along Eastown Rd.
He said Whanganui Police were aware of the threats and had patrolled the area.
"These idiots have no consideration."
He told the Chronicle he was ready to take the law in to his own hands.
A Wakefield St resident expressed her frustration, saying although more pronounced on weekends, the boy racer activity was happening day and night and had been ongoing for the four years she had lived in the area. She said she had "become conditioned to the noise". She said police and council lacked resources so "any significant change to the situation is unlikely".
The homeowner, who did not wish to be named, was sick and tired of cars "absolutely hooning down the street", and was surprised there had not been a serious accident before now.
Long-time local Geoff Lawson said the problem had been going on for 10 years but had "elevated to whole new level in the last two years".
Happening in sporadic bursts, the racing could go on "all day and half the night".
Mr Lawson said Eastown Rd, unfortunately, made for the perfect drag strip: "It is very long, very wide and dead straight."
With little or no street lighting, vehicles raced two and three abreast and around the corners of side streets on two wheels.
Mr Lawson pointed out five properties that had been damaged by speeding vehicles losing control and showed the Chronicle several intersections where tyre marks from burning rubber were clearly visible.
"Years ago they were tagging fences and letter boxes, now they are tagging the roads," he said.
Calling police had become futile as those involved have lookouts who use cellphones to alert racers police are on the way, giving them time to flee.
Residents have tried to note car registration numbers but find even this to be impossible due to the speed the vehicles are travelling.
The solution, Mr Lawson said, was for council to introduce roundabouts, street lighting and proper pedestrian crossings. He said for such a long, wide stretch of road there was nowhere for school children to cross the road safely.
A petition, signed by residents, has been presented to the Wanganui District Council but, even that does not accurately reflect the high level of concern felt in the neighbourhood, as 205 locals refused to sign, fearing for their safety.
Council officers do not believe the area is suitable for traffic calming measures but is prepared to consider non-engineering solutions.
It was agreed that council, residents and police should meet with some urgency to discuss the options so a report on the matter can be tabled before the next full council meeting.
Senior Sergeant Lance Kennedy of the Whanganui Police told the Chronicle he did not believe that Wanganui had a problem with boy racers compared to other areas but was aware of the alleged threats and said considerable time and resources had gone into investigating them. His advice to anyone who witnessed dangerous motorist behaviour was to contact police and, if possible, note car registration details.