YOUTH CRIME: Outrage after playground set alight
AN ARSON attack on a children's playground at Lismore on Saturday has triggered an outpouring of anger from local residents over youth crime in the region.
Police confirmed that between 2.35am and 2.45am a small playground in the Lismore oval on Brewster St, opposite Lismore Square Shopping Centre, was burned down.
Lismore Fire Station dispatched firefighting crews to the scene but the playground was well alight and destroyed by the time they arrived.
A significant number of residents took to social media to vent their anger over the incident, concerned it stemmed from a broader youth crime problem in the region.
Lynne Avery said local youth "love destroying equipment, setting fire to bins, and defecating on the BBQs".
"(They) even stole and burned out a car in the car park behind our house," she wrote.
Jenny Northey said there were "many arsons" in the area recently, and that she recently called the police over a group of teens that started "a fire at the skate park in the middle of the day."
Lismore Police Chief inspector Bill McKenna said Lismore's youth crime levels were not different to that in other NSW Local Area Commands.
He urged residents to report crime to their local police station or to '000' as the incident is unfolding, and to provide witness testimony to police, where possible, so officers are legally empowered to investigate and manage youth crime.
"We would like to work the community and respond to incidents as they occur, and we encourage all members of the public to report crime to us as it's happening," Chief Insp McKenna said.
"Police are deployed to respond to calls on a daily basis, 24-hours a day, as required.
"Delaying contacting police and putting information on Facebook does not assist our investigations and is problematic in that a lot of the information on Facebook is anecdotal and third hand.
"The timely and prompt reporting of crime is crucial to our response and (crime) solve-ability."
Contact Lismore Police Station with any information in relation to the fire at Lismore on Saturday morning, and any other youth-related crime on: (02) 6626 0599.