THREAT TO LIFE: O'Donnell Street residents fear kids' actions could kill

O'Donnell Street residents have told the Daily Liberal they do not feel safe in their own houses and yards. Photo: LISA MINNER.
O'Donnell Street residents have told the Daily Liberal they do not feel safe in their own houses and yards. Photo: LISA MINNER.

"MY HUSBAND is on a breathing machine, and the kids turned off the power to our house."

An O'Donnell Street resident desperate for authorities to do something about the "out-of-control" children in her street said she wondered how serious the situation had to get before authorities decided to act.

She was among more than a dozen residents whose families had been victims of assaults, break-ins, theft, intimidation, vandalism attacks, verbal abuse and arson attempts in recent weeks and months. They met with the Daily Liberal to share their horror stories about living in a street that has emerged as a major crime hotspot in the city.

Of most concern, they said, were a small number of families living in public housing, residents who, along with their children, were causing most of the trouble.

"They've moved people from the Gordon Estate here, and it's not just them, they have their families and friends who come from Walgett, Brewarrina and Bourke who stay in the houses when they're not allowed to and they cause trouble too," one woman said.

Earlier this week Dubbo MP Troy Grant urged local residents to dob in unauthorised public housing tenants as part of a NSW government crackdown on people who were rorting the system. The residents said they thought the rorting was commonplace in Dubbo.

One woman said she had left the Gordon Estate in 1993 because she "could see where it was headed" in terms of the increasing amount of crime and antisocial behaviour.

"Look at what happened to it. And that's going to happen with this street.We feel like we've just come back to where we left but only a different location," she said.

Another O'Donnell Street resident said some of the houses in her street were like magnets for trouble, attracting friends and extended families where loud parties and fights took place while unsupervised children walked up and down the road and through neighbours' yards as they pleased.

"Some people think it's worse over in the Apollo Estate. Problem is, every night Apollo comes to visit us," she said.

"The amount of kids that are in this street of a night can't possibly all live here," one man said.

The woman whose power had been turned off said she had gone outside and yelled at the fleeing children, but she did not think it had made much difference.

"I threatened them and told them if they tried it again I wouldn't be responsible for what happened. They just laughed and kept running," she said.

"Someone else lost a week's worth of food when they turned her power off while she was out," another woman said.

The residents agreed it was not surprising that children had no respect for their neighbours, because their parents did not either.

"The parents are instructing their young ones about how to break into houses. There are tiny kids getting under houses then busting through floorboards from underneath to get inside. We know about two little five-year-old girls who did this because their parents told them to. How are they supposed to grow up decent?" one woman said.

A lack of regard children held for other people's property had shown itself in other ways, the residents said.

"Just after Christmas a group of kids turned the tap on at the front of my house and were using the hose to muck around with the water to wet themselves. I said, 'Turn that tap off and get out of my yard. You don't pay for that water.' They yelled out 'f- you, you fat --'," one man said.

"Even on hot days when we should be conserving water, the kids just go up and down the streets, turning on people's taps.

"They don't care about how much water is going to waste. Thousands and thousands of litres of water are spraying onto the road."

Another man woke from an afternoon nap to find two children about four years old jumping on the bonnet of his car.

"There was mud all aver it. I yelled 'Get off my car'. Their mother came out and said, 'What do you want me to do?' I told her, 'Control your kids, for a start'."

One woman said some of the adults did not dare tell the children off.

"Because they are always threatening to go and get their families to come and bash us," she said.

The Daily Liberal website has been flooded with comments from people outraged at what the residents of O'Donnell Street have had to endure.

Some also raised concerns that those who were trying to sell their properties would have difficulty doing so.

One contributor, a regular visitor to the street, said the conditions his friend was having to put up with were "disgusting."

"Having all the doors double bolted and all the windows armoured, she finds it very hard to even go outside," he wrote.

"Sooner or later people have to come to (the) realisation about these conditions and the ongoing threats these residents receive.

"The sad fact is the law-abiding home owners in O'Donnell Street have had quite a bit of trouble selling as a result of conditions in this area."

NEXT WEEK: "They tried to kill my dog".



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