It’s a ‘frightening place’

Waiting for the bus on Willow Street is often a daunting experience. Photo: John Borren.

A Tauranga man is speaking out on behalf of residents who are tired of feeling scared and intimated at the Willow Street bus terminal.

The terminal is a popular hangout spot and people have been seen drinking or sniffing solvents in the liquor ban area and approaching people for change or cigarettes.

Murray Cruickshank’s daughter was waiting alone at the bus stop one afternoon when she noticed some men staring at her and she started to feel uncomfortable.

As she went to cross the road one of the men approached her and asked for change or cigarettes, he then started making “sexualised comments”.

The 17-year-old was so frightened she jumped on a bus to get away from them and thankfully the driver dropped her at the next stop so she could get the correct bus home, says Murray.

One of her friend’s has also been approached by a middle aged man who tried to chat her up and when she went to leave he grabbed her leg and tried to force her back onto the seat, says Murray.

Murray took to Facebook to see if any other people had similar experiences and he is surprised by the number of people that have.

“It really was a bit of an eye opener.”

The post on the Papamoa/Mount Community noticeboard attracted more than 100 comments and a lot of the stories echo Murray’s daughter’s experience.

Both Murray and his daughter were angry about her experience and are calling for action to make the area safer.

The single dad says his initial reaction was anger but the best way to deal with the situation is to work with the individuals based on their needs - be it employment, housing or addiction services.

“These guys need to be worked with one-on-one to get themselves a better life or whatever they need, instead of just letting them roam the streets and cause mischief.”

He says they all have a backstory that led to their circumstances.

Tauranga Police Senior Sergeant Chris Summerville says police regularly conduct foot patrols in the city centre to help prevent anti-social and criminal behaviour.

He says police have been using a national pilot scheme to deploy staff at specific times and locations based on data from calls for service.

Police will also respond when available to specific events that are called in via 111, these include reported breaches of local liquor bans or behavioural offences which are assessed on a case-by-case basis, says Chris.

“Many of those dealt with for this offending are suffering a wide range of welfare issues and police will often use alternative resolutions and referrals to partner agencies to assist with specialist help.”

Police's advice to anyone who feels unsafe on the streets is to move somewhere where they feel more comfortable, and to call police straight away.




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17 Comments

Tom Ranger

Posted on 24-11-2020 14:29 | By Tom Ranger

@ morepork A strange thing to say isn’t it considering the Police Station is a 5 min walk from there.

Same ol' same ol'

Posted on 23-11-2020 20:21 | By Lvdw

.. same old story. Lets find out what their problems are.. let’s help them. What about us tax payers’ problems? Surely we have rights too? I walk through that area at least twice a day if not more and every time its the same - young kids smoking drugs quite openly, older people drinking, swearing and jeering at young girls. It is disgusting but nothing gets done. Is there not a community policing office right near the library? The mayors’ office overlooks this mess as well apparently. DO SOMETHING. Permanent policing, Maori patrol - anything

@Tom Ranger

Posted on 23-11-2020 19:46 | By morepork

Hear! Hear! We definitely need an increased Police presence in these areas.

@ Tom Ranger

Posted on 23-11-2020 16:05 | By Yadick

Excellent call. They know what they are doing is wrong. They won’t do it in the presence of Police or to the Police because they KNOW it is wrong. They already have that knowledge. They know the legal consequences of their scummy, sexually perverted, antisocial behavior and actions. Therefore, NO EXCUSE.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 23-11-2020 13:48 | By Tom Ranger

They need to be charged with the offences they are committing. That’s the first layer of help they should be receiving. Give them the knowledge they won’t get away with it.

Really off-putting!

Posted on 23-11-2020 10:31 | By WestieMum

No wonder people don’t want to use public transport if you’ve got to catch the bus from the city centre... Personal safety is one of the reasons I don’t catch the bus. And then you’ve got the businesses on Willow Street that have to contend with the behaviours as well. I understand that there are "back stories" that have put these folk where they are today, and they do need assistance, but that should not be at the expense of other people’s safety. Where are our rights as well? I work in town and now avoid the area like the plague!

Disgusting

Posted on 22-11-2020 21:02 | By Yadick

It’s a filthy dirty, scummy area of Tauranga. It’s also where our visitors leave from with their last thoughts of our city and where we make our first impression of our city as they arrive. It’s also home of our Council . . . It seems we are obligated to put up with the shenanigans and intimidation as these scum, low life and thugs have rights to be there harassing, abusing, begging, touching, verbally sexually assaulting people. The do-gooders that got the begging ban overthrown have done so well for our city. With all my heart, thanks for nothing you do-gooders.

One-on-one is right...

Posted on 22-11-2020 16:55 | By morepork

See if they take liberties with someone the same size as them and up for it... A sad back story is no excuse for this kind of behavior and I’m sick of hearing it. People should be able to wait for their bus without fear and anxiety from intimidation. If Police know this is a trouble spot, then maybe a few regular patrols would get the word out that Police are watching the area and the pickings may not be so easy.

Criminal nuisance!

Posted on 22-11-2020 08:43 | By Equality

Passing that area recently we were forced to stop in the middle of the road to avoid hitting a drugged out male trying to entice a similar man out to fight. The police were called by numerous bystanders. Such behaviour at the central bus terminal is a BAD look for the city and should have been cleaned up a long time ago. It is criminal nuisance!! Lock them up!!

more plain cloth patrol.

Posted on 22-11-2020 08:32 | By hapukafin

The Police station is only a few hundred metres up the road,they should carry out more random. foot patrol particularly they got more cops recently. Its easy to say move to somewhere more comfortable but its hard to when you are waiting for a bus

@ By GWHtpt

Posted on 21-11-2020 21:57 | By The Caveman

YOU are right on the mark- it’s about time that the POLICE got out of their "drive by" cars and did a bit of street walking !! Even better DO IT IN PLANE CLOTHES and really see what’s going on on the CBD streets - DRINKING, DRUG DEALS, INTIMIDATION OF SHOPPERS for money. If you park and look for an hour or so, it’s no wonder that the CBD is almost DEAD !! OH in Wellington (read the media) they have just acknowledged that "drive by" is not doing it and they have put 50 on the street coppers ON the central Wellington streets !!!

Camera

Posted on 21-11-2020 18:43 | By Womby

The whole downtown is camera city Perhaps it is an area that needs more watching rather than just outside pubs

Not nice

Posted on 21-11-2020 18:04 | By Steves

Yes even driving through the area is unpleasant

I was scared too

Posted on 21-11-2020 17:04 | By AuntyMinnie

I was told i was a fu**ing snob!! We should feel safe walking in the main streets of central Tauranga. These people lounge on the benches, legs right out! Deliberately getting in the way.They smell awful and do nothing to make the general public feel kindly towards them.

So true

Posted on 21-11-2020 16:46 | By GWHtpt

Has been for years. Say what you want but there’s a lot of scum down there and people wonder why Tauranga dead ??? Police just drive by and do nothing and people defend the rough sleepers hanging outside shop fronts. They intimidate people and cause trouble!!! Time to get rid of them !!!

Rubbish

Posted on 21-11-2020 16:20 | By Yadick

These thugs do not need ’educating ’. Strange that they don’t do it when a Police Officer is there . . . wait . . . Perhaps it’s because they already know it’s illegal. If you do call the Police straight a way, it’s forever before they get there and these thugs know it. Let just one of them advance on my Wife or Daughter or Son - it’ll be the thugs calling for Police. I agree, it’s an unsafe, dirty, antisocial area frequented by thugs and weirdos. It’s an embarrassment to our city that this is our main bus stop.

Bloody hell

Posted on 21-11-2020 16:05 | By Potofstu

Here i was thinking the police were here to in force the law . Do you job and arrest or trespass these scum . Sick and tired of them if the do gooders want to take them home your welcome have them.

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