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THERE are fears the extension of the Gold Coast’s light rail network will bring an explosion of violent teen gangs from the wrong side of the tracks.
Surfers Paradise locals are already concerned at the number of teenagers roaming the streets at night, but the completion of the next stage of the light rail network, which will link to the train line at Helensvale, could make it even easier for gangs of young thugs to infiltrate the Glitter Strip from further afield.
None of the three teens charged with the vicious coward punch attack on Thom Dover in Surfers Paradise earlier this month lived in the city and local MP John-Paul Langbroek said the extended tram network could open the floodgates.
His concerns are shared by police who have recognised the issue as a potential problem ahead of the completion of the project before next year’s Commonwealth Games.
Mr Langbroek said there needed to be a concerted plan to make things uncomfortable for teen gangs looking to venture in to the Gold Coast on public transport.
“There is still a slight difficulty for out-of-towners to get in to Surfers Paradise on public transport at the moment, but it will become a lot easier when they can jump straight from the train to the tram and be in the heart of the tourist and nightclub precinct,” he said.
“Locals are very concerned about the potential increase in gang violence and street crime unless plans are in place to prevent this from happening.”
The Gold Coast’s Assistant Police Commissioner Brian Codd said the general proliferation of crime to railway lines meant measures would need to be taken when the light rail expansion is complete.
“We’re certainly aware of it and we have been in dialogue with the State Railway Squad as well as the operators of the light rail system,” he said.
“It’s still 12 months away from opening so it’s early days, but it is definitely an issue that is on our radar.”
A G: Link spokesman said provisions were already being planned to improve tram safety.
“Additional staff will be recruited as part of Stage Two and the extensive CCTV camera network that operates across the system will be expanded,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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