Editorial: Rutherford fed up with crime and hooligans

The sign left at the Hillview bus stop

The sign left at the Hillview bus stop

There are any number of issues that crop up time and again around Maitland.

At the risk of repeating ourselves, here’s just a few … traffic congestion, the ongoing hospital saga, combining heritage with development, bringing business back to central Maitland, those troublesome roundabouts on the highway, losing good farming land to urban sprawl, and so on.

Sadly, there’s another problem that just won’t go away – Rutherford’s problems with crime and hooligans.

We’ve lost track of the number of stories we’ve carried in this paper on the issue.

But it would seem, despite the best efforts of residents and police, the solution remains frustratingly out of reach.

Today we report that a bus service had to be stopped for a couple of weeks after drivers and passengers had become fed up with dealing with the mindless hooliganism – rocks, water balloons and even darts being thrown at vehicles. 

It’s not just stupid behaviour, but downright dangerous. Imagine the carnage if a rock smashed the bus driver’s window.   

Thankfully the bus is about to return to the route, much to the locals’ delight, but it’s fair to say the bus company is monitoring the situation closely.

So it’s little surprise that residents have had enough.

“It’s awful. You want to know you can walk around without being accosted or attacked,” Rutherford resident Jeff Dunn said.

West ward councillor Henry Meskauskas played a role in helping to establish the Aberglasslyn/Rutherford Neighbourhood Watch, and his frustration is clear for all to see.

“It’s a handful of hooligans performing these deeds. They’ve got no respect … it’s just malicious damage,” he said.

But being aware of the problem is one thing: fixing it is something else altogether.

Not surprisingly the community is turning its collective head to the police for help.

The police have introduced a couple of initiatives aimed at bringing the problem under control once and for all.

For now they have introduced high visibility police patrols in the area – both on foot and on pushbikes – in the hope it will deter anti-social behaviour.

Judging on past efforts, that might be an optimistic view, but we wish them the best. At this stage, anything is worthy a try.

Either way, the people of Rutherford deserve better.