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Felonious and Antisocial Behaviour around Hutt Street

Radio Broadcast

Shane White, Publican, Arab Steed Hotel (5AA 9.37-9.42) Felonious and antisocial behaviour around the Hutt Street area

(Byner: Last night Channel Seven News led with a major drug issue in Hutt Street … we spoke of this three to four weeks ago … then we were told it’s not a problem, a lot of people are just making this up. We didn’t buy that. The Seven News footage showed felonious antisocial behaviour, antagonism, assault, and at least one local trader arming himself with a baseball bat … SAPOL have gone public and said that their statistics do not support these increased concerns. That being so, one then has to ask why are local traders speaking out saying they’ve had enough? There are no free vouchers for people with complex needs to commit crimes and demand money, food, with menaces, threaten, abuse, steal; they’re the things that have been going on. Anybody who thinks that this is okay because … you’ve got to take into account all these other circumstances, is in for a rude awakening … this program ran several segments warning that Hutt Street has been made a very unsafe zone especially near a lot of medical facilities and a car park down near South Terrace. We’ve been sent several pictures of drug paraphernalia strewn over the street and in car parks … we spoke to the Bici Café owner who on this program said that she had to take out an AVO against one felon … anybody who thinks this is okay, help is being administered in Hutt Street so therefore, look, go a little easy; cameras have picked up exactly the problems everybody has been talking about … it’s turning into a media circus because there seems to be a denial that all these things are so and nobody wants to touch it. Why? We do not tolerate this behaviour in any other part of the city. It is summarily dealt with, so why is Hutt Street any different … Shane White … can you describe … what’s going on?) … I’ve been here for 30 years, I’ve seen a lot go on over that time … we’ve got a pretty experienced team and we manage … the problems you just mentioned … demanding food and cigarettes and money from our people that sit outside for a pleasant evening of dining … however … there’s a lot of new people in the area … new residential people … they just are sick and tired of seeing this … they’re affecting everybody’s business … why it’s ramped up I’m not really sure. I do see evidence of drug dealing in the street, I can’t prove that but I’ve noticed cars parked across the street, people getting in and out of the car, the car stays there all day and different people get in the back seat, they never get in the front seat … I assume they’re just buying a few drugs … we are constantly threatened every day, if we say to someone, ‘please don’t touch that’, or ‘please move along’ we would be threatened every day of the week, but why it’s ramped up to this point now I’m not really sure. (Byner: Threatened by whom?) … people that are attracted to the area … the attraction is the Hutt Street Centre, I don’t think we would have these sort of people down this end of Hutt Street if that wasn’t there. We all acknowledge that this is a required … needed thing to help look after the homeless and the street people … yesterday I would have seen about three to four people with serious mental issues in the street, they do things like they just walk into the traffic, I’ve seen them kick moving cars, they intimidate motorists … (Byner: What do you think should happen?) I think the solution lies in … I’m not an expert in this, I’m a publican, but mental health seems to be a problem … I don’t think they’ve got anywhere to go. What happens with the Hutt Street Centre, as much as they do a fantastic job and we donate to them and we’re happy to have them in our community at times, at the minute it’s pretty bad, they close their doors at one o’clock and then there’s nowhere else for these people to go, they hang around on the street outside the Hutt Street Centre … they sleep there, they make a lot of noise overnight … my venue becomes a bit of a facility to use our amenities, to use our toilets, and use our facilities … I have people come in to our gaming venue and they bring cups of soup and … they get the hot water out of the coffee machine and make soup … they go to the toilet … not always a great result there … I think the Hutt Street Centre has actually outgrown this local area. This essentially is a residential corner, a medical corner, and a retail business corner … the cafés and restaurants are actually closing down because it’s just too hard to put up with the harassment. (Byner: … thank you … I’m still amazed that this is still going on when anywhere else in town we wouldn’t allow it.)

John Darley, MP, Advance SA (5AA 9.42-9.45) Felonious and antisocial behaviour around the Hutt Street area

(Byner: John Darley … what’s your take on this?) … we’ve heard about this problem for a long time … I spoke to a mate of mine, Peter Louca, who shifted to another venue in the city … the Government, if they say this is not a problem and they’re fresh ideas I’m prepared to offer … one of my candidates on my ticket who’s a behavioural scientist to talk to the Government about this and hear some constructive ideas from her point of view … if this is going to continue and the Government is just going to ignore it people in business should be given some relief from the Government rates and charges that they’re paying … I can mention Bank Street, when Bank Street was being done up … the constructors there ripped up the western footpath of Bank Street and the traders on that, you couldn’t even walk along there … I spoke to Martin Haese about it and they came to some arrangement with the traders … I think this is a Government problem … if they’ve run out of ideas talk to Jenny Low and see what she can contribute to the whole thing, but something has to happen, you just can’t walk away and say, oh it’s not a problem. (Byner: … thank you … we started talking about this some weeks ago but … what’s happening right now; concerned people have spent a lot of money on some very good video surveillance because pictures don’t lie, they are collecting a corollary of evidence, times, dates, vision, pictures, videos. At some point not long away because there’s plenty that goes on every day … this evidence will be made public … the reason it will be made public is because we seem to be in denial that there is a social problem … this isn’t about the great work that people do because clearly there is some fantastic work, but as I said there is no discount voucher that because of that other behaviours which anywhere else would be zero tolerance are allowed to happen. It’s not good enough and it must be fixed now.)