Boundary Street Retailers Demand Action Against Rising Anti-Social Behaviour

Boundary Street West End
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Small business owners in Boundary Street, West End, are raising the alarm over the escalating antisocial activities in the area. They claim that the situation has deteriorated significantly since a safety summit convened five years ago. 

Amidst the daily hustle of inner city life, these retailers are confronting a reality that threatens not just their livelihood but the very charm of West End. Despite previous promises for improvement, the community now faces a critical juncture demanding immediate action.

Following the safety summit led by Jackie Trad, a comprehensive report by Urbis in 2019 outlined several recommendations to curb anti-social behaviour along Boundary Street. However, traders express frustration over the need for more implementation of these suggestions. 

Promised enhancements in lighting, surveillance, and policing have yet to materialise, leaving business owners to fend for themselves against an increasing tide of shoplifting, vandalism, and public disturbances.

Boundary Street West End
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Day-to-Day Challenges for Retailers

The daily trials faced by the traders of Boundary Street paint a grim picture of their current reality. Shoplifting has become so commonplace that thieves blatantly showcase stolen items to shop owners. 

Tower Ad

Incidents of vandalism and public indecency, including the presence of vomit, urine, and even faeces on the shopfronts, have become routine challenges that tarnish the area’s reputation. These issues have escalated to the point where some business owners, who have served the community for decades, claim it’s the worst they’ve ever seen.

A veteran shopkeeper, boasting over three decades of experience and representing a business with a legacy spanning over 70 years in West End, expressed unprecedented concern over the current state of affairs. The individual highlighted a reluctance to voice these issues publicly due to fear of backlash and accusations of racism on social media platforms. This fate befell others who spoke up.

The shopkeeper lamented the frequency of shoplifting incidents, now a thrice-weekly ordeal, describing the situation as disheartening. Previously committed to after-hours work for cleaning and administrative tasks, the individual now feels too intimidated to do so, citing recent alarming episodes during capoeira training sessions at Kurilpa Hall. Efforts to solicit police assistance were met with responses indicating a need for more available officers or timing outside of operational hours.

The shopkeeper raised a poignant question about the future trajectory of West End should the current trends persist.

Similarly, Wayne Shay, proprietor of Shays Shoes, a family-run establishment since 1901, echoed these sentiments, noting the absence of previously promised safety and lighting improvements. Shay observed a decline in the local crime situation over the last five years, underscoring a growing concern among the business community in West End.

The Queensland Police Service online crime map showed that in the past six months, there have been 53 good order offences, 84 property damage reports, and four offences against a person in West End. 

West End Crime Stats Oct to March
Photo Credit: QPS

Community and Police Response

In response to the outcry from West End’s business community, local leaders and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have voiced their commitment to addressing these concerns. 

The QPS highlights its efforts to deploy designated officers and patrols within the area while emphasising its focus on crime prevention and community engagement. 

The West End police station organises specific patrols on foot, by vehicle, and by bicycle along Boundary Street and throughout the West End area. Furthermore, the community can request the deployment of a Mobile Police Beat to a location of their choosing when necessary. 

Meanwhile, Greens Councillor Trina Massey underscores the importance of community outreach and service provision as fundamental approaches to combating the root causes of crime and anti-social behaviour.

One of her initial measures as a councillor, when she assumed office in 2023, was to obtain the necessary funds to improve the kiosk in People’s Park. She explained that the kiosk’s refurbishment is expected to enhance outreach to the community and better equip service providers to assist those facing hardships. According to research, the most effective crime prevention method is ensuring all community members have access to stable accommodation and sufficient food.

Ms Massey expressed eagerness to convene with West End community groups, the local business association, service organisations, and other vital parties to explore collaborative solutions for Boundary Street’s future.

Published 1-April-2024