Suffolk Park and Byron Bay have experienced a spate of break-and-enter incidents in the past fortnight, a significant number of which took place while residents were at home in bed.
While Byron Police said there had been just two incidents reported to them in the past 10 days, locals have reported at least six to The Echo and via community Facebook pages such as Crime Watch Byron Bay.
The incidents typically involved two or more youths attempting to break into homes late at night, or banging on windows and doors in an apparent attempt to scare those inside.
‘Most houses invaded, or where entry is attempted, have had children sleeping,’ said Dave from Beech Drive Suffolk Park, who wished to be known by his first name only.
‘People are terrified. It’s got every parent in town sleeping with a cricket bat. My wife can’t sleep.
‘Extra police are needed here.’
Phil Shayer, the administrator of the Crime Watch Byron Bay Facebook group said he had seen a spike in incidents being reported in the past two to three weeks.
‘The incidents we’re seeing are youths going around to people’s houses,’ he said.
‘In some cases they’re scaring people and not taking anything, and in other cases one person will distract [the resident] round the front while someone else comes through the back and steals the car keys.’
‘They seem to be targeting the homes based on the car parked out the front.’
‘None of the reports are coming from the Sunrise and Lilly-Pilly areas. It seems to be specifically off the Beech Dr area of Suffolk Park and off Beech Dr.’
Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe of Byron Police said there had only been two break-and-enter incidents reported to police in the past 10 days.
He said two teenagers had been arrested in relation to the second incident, which occurred on August 23 in Byron Bay.
‘We’ve charged a 15-year-old with aggravated break and enter with intent to steal and drug offences,’ Inspector Kehoe said.
‘A second 15-year-old was also charged with aggravated break and enter with intent to steal.’
‘My message would be to people that if they have been a victim of a break and enter to report that matter to Byron Bay police, or, if they have found persons in their home, that they call triple zero’, Inspector Kehoe said.
In one recent incident posted on Facebook two boys in their late teens attempted to enter the house of an older woman near the former market site in Byron Bay.
‘They were pretending to look for someone called Gary,’ the owner’s daughter said.
‘While I was answering the front door the other came in the back door.’
‘A horrible experience’.