28 Jun 2016

'You're cringing, lying there waiting for the big bang'

6:58 pm on 28 June 2016

Residents at Governors Bay, close to Christchurch, say they feel like they are being held hostage in their own homes by boy racers.

They are becoming frustrated at what they say is a toothless response by police, and say things have only worsened since they first raised the matter a year ago.

The crash at Governors Bay.

A crash at Governors Bay (file) Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Juliet Aitken, who moved to Governors Bay seeking peace and quiet, said young men were using the area around her home for street races on a regular basis.

"I had 12 hours' sleep in total over the weekend because my kids wake up with the noise [and] I'm up calling the police.

"At some stage on Saturday night, I thought one was going to come off the road and land on my garage.

"The squealing of the brakes and missing the corner... You're cringing, lying there waiting for the big bang - it's no way to live."

She attended a meeting last night between residents and police, and said they were told police did not have the resources to patrol the bay and its surrounds on a regular basis.

"We appreciate they're trying to stop it in town before it gets over here [but], well, they're fighting a losing battle. It's been going on for two years now and I just don't know when there's going to be an end to it.

"We were just shaking our heads at the meeting last night, it was quite infuriating."

Rose Belton

Rose Belton Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Fellow resident Rose Belton said it was like playing Russian roulette each time she drove between the bay and town.

"Tail-gating, overtaking on blind corners, sliding in front of us, deliberately going on the wrong side of the road, racing on some of the flat stretches two abreast on a road that is designed for two-way."

It was not just a problem at night: Ms Belton said she had seen drivers doing burn-outs close to the local school at 3pm.

Residents confronted some of those linked to the problem at a meeting last year but to no avail, she said.

"I'll always remember one little boy, he was about 11, and he stood up in front of this boy racer and he said to him, 'How would you like to lie in bed at night and be woken up all night long by this awful noise, and in the morning go to school and you can't do your homework, you can't stay awake because you're so tired'."

Police could not be everywhere and it was up to the community to get better at passing on information so officers could act, Banks Peninsula councillor Andrew Turner said.

"So a more organised and co-ordinated effort on the part of the community as to how that information [is gathered], registration numbers, vehicle descriptions and recording of vehicle behaviour as well."

There were no easy answers to the boy racer problem as people needed to be caught in the act of breaking the law before the police could act, he said.

Police were asked for comment on this story.