HOONS have taken over many of Echuca’s streets after dark and residents have had enough.
And are blaming much of the trouble on the Victorian Government for not providing the town with enough police resources to effectively protect the community.
A group of them have joined forces with Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh to start a parliamentary petition to demand more police cars on the roads at night.
Sandy Pearce said cars using Ogilvie Ave as their racetrack are not only risking their own lives, they are endangering other road users as well.
Mrs Pearce said she and other residents have rung police at all hours about the screeching tyres and loud engines “tearing the night apart well into the early hours of the morning”.
“Several of us have rung the police for help but they simply say ‘sorry, what can we do?’
“They have told us they only have one divvy van on night shift and if it is busy elsewhere in town, or has been sent to Kyabram or Rochester, nothing can be done,” Mrs Pearce added.
“With 15,000 people here as permanent residents, and the enormous extra numbers we get at peak tourism times, one divvy van is simply not enough, and not good enough,” she said.
Mr Walsh agreed and said the Victorian Government’s “low-cost police model” was broken before it even began.
“The numbers of police available in this region, not just Echuca but across many of the other towns – such as Kyabram, Rochester, Gunbower and so on – is nowhere near what is needed,” he said.
“This has been repeatedly raised with the Police Minister and the government but nothing has changed.
“And if the Andrews Labor Government thinks it is doing a good job of protecting regional Victorian communities could it please explain why the crime statistics for Echuca – which were 104 incidents a year when Labor was elected – have now more than doubled?”
Mr Walsh said it is “frighteningly inevitable that at some time one of these idiot drivers is going to badly lose control and end up in the front room of a house after running off the road”.
“That’s the potential tragedy here and it is not the fault of our local police, they battle hard with the limited resources they have, but when the government is chopping them off at the knees with funding and staffing, this situation is not going to end well,” Mr Walsh said.
Mrs Pearce said she planned to spread the petition as far as possible because the hoons peel off Ogilvie and head down side streets at high speed.
“They then start burning rubber in High St South and down Simmie St,” she added.
“I am hoping to put the petition in some local businesses as well as doorknocking – I just did around my house at the weekend and everyone but one house signed on.”