"I'M SELLING up. I've had enough."
Those were the words of an O'Donnell Street property owner sick of crime and antisocial behaviour in the area.
A group of O'Donnell Street residents met with the Daily Liberal to provide an insight into what it was like to regularly be on the receiving end of vandalism attacks, assaults, verbal abuse, break-ins and arson attempts in what has emerged as one of the city's crime hotspots.
The property owner pointed at a driveway in the street.
"There was a new car parked here and it was scratched and had been shot with a rock from a slingshot," he said.
"The kids light fires around here all the time. The other day I found a big blade sticking out of my lawn.
"I wish I'd known what this street was going to turn out like a few years ago when I bought this house. I would never have bought it."
Nearby, the remnants of a For Sale sign that had been set alight a few nights before had blackened the grass.
The property owner told the Daily Liberal he had been injured while trying to detain an intruder in his yard.
"I was watering the back lawn and heard a noise. I looked up and saw a young fella there. He asked if he could go through my yard," he said.
"I thought he had some bigger kids chasing after him wanting to bash him up.
“I was just about to say ‘yeah, jump my back fence’ when the police jumped up over the other fence. They were the ones who were chasing him.
“He jumped up at the corner of the fence but I grabbed him by the leg and dragged him down onto the ground. Meanwhile he was kicking away and got me in the arm but I held him long enough for the police to get him.”
The man displayed a scar from a gash where the boy had kicked him.
As the man spoke, the assembled group turned to watch two children no older than 12 walking down the street, swearing at a taxi driver as he drove past.
“No wonder the taxi drivers don’t want to come here,” one woman said.
The residents said when children were not swearing at cars they were standing in the middle of the road, obstructing traffic or demanding money from residents.
“They harass us outside our homes - they say ‘We know you’ve got five dollars. Give it to us’,” she said.
The residents said it was also not unusual to see fistfights in O’Donnell Street and surrounds.
“The kids often fight amongst themselves,” one woman said.
“They have big blues on the street. They’ll go for seven rounds and the little ones are all out there filming it on their phones. These kids are having full on fights, some of them spitting out blood. Then they’re friends five minutes later. Meanwhile, they’ve caused all that drama.”
Another woman said it did not help when adults set a bad example.
“There was a young mum who came up the street going off her head, yelling out and trying to pick a fight with another woman, and all the while she is pushing a pram. Her baby is with her and she’s trying to start fights. It’s unbelievable,” she said.
“Then she got on the bus and was shouting at the bus driver. It’s not just the taxi drivers who don’t want to come here, the bus drivers hate it as well.”
O’Donnell Street residents were increasingly frustrated because their friends and families were in danger when they came to visit.
One woman said her four-year-old son was hit in the head with what she believed was a projectile from a slingshot when they came to visit her mother.
“I’ve brought him up to be well behaved. He doesn’t swear or do things like that. He was in his grandparent’s yard and this is what happens to him.”
The man who was selling his house said he had a suggestion to try to curb the crime in O’Donnell Street and surrounds.
“I’d like to see a second Dubbo police station, but put it in West Dubbo,” he said.
“How hard would it be to buy one of these cheap, abandoned houses along here and put a couple of cops in it?
“That way they could be on the scene quicker, because it’s when they are on foot that they are there straight away and are catching these kids.”
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