By MARIKA HILL - Manawatu Standard:Eight? some may call that a "gang" but not in Palmerston North
"The victim of a mugging and surprise assault has hit back at the mayor's claims that Palmerston North is a safe city.
A fun night out turned into a terrifying ordeal for Alannah Giles and three friends when they were attacked by eight teenagers while walking down Linton St at 1.30am on February 14."
"After the attack, mayor Jono Naylor said he believed the city was not dangerous at night.So is he saying parts of Palmy are no-go areas at night? what about increasing police patrols?
"We all need to be aware of steering clear of people who perhaps look threatening, and have some common sense about where we are and at what time of day," he said at the time."
"Miss Giles decided to speak out after a report in the Manawatu Standard last week. She said her group, two men and a woman friend visiting from Blenheim, were walking into town together.So are the crims unforunately.
"We're all in our twenties, we're allowed to be on the street at night," she said."
"Her two male friends, also Massey University students, were left with black eyes and split lips after the unprovoked attack near The Brewer's Apprentice. "It was supposed to be a big, fun night out," Miss Giles said.The following day this appeared on Stuff
Eight youths, some aged just 13, appeared from a hiding place and started punching and kicking the two men.
Miss Giles said the youths picked on the smaller of her male friends, kicking him in the head while he lay on the ground.
"I was just thinking about that guy that got stabbed in The Square. They could have had knives."
The assault came a month after 22-year-old man was stabbed by a group of youths in The Square. Miss Giles said she tried to stop the fight but was "booted" by the boys and her bag was snatched. "I don't think they intended to rob me. I was just getting in their way."
"Backlash as youth crime escalatesUpdate 9 March 2010 Stuff.co.nz
Harsher penalties for child offenders are being called for after a string of violent crimes by Palmerston North youths...
...Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said the problems experienced in Manawatu were the same throughout New Zealand.
He said the problem of violent youth crime, which includes the beating of an off-duty police officer by a group of south Auckland youths on Friday, was self-inflicted.
"I blame my generation who have allowed the youth justice system to become so liberal and so politically correct that we have removed all consequences for the offenders."Young offenders needed to be caught earlier and punished more harshly, he said.
"There have got to be consequences and that needs to start right from the first sign of wayward behaviour, not just crime, we got to have it in the schools."We don't want these wayward youths wandering the streets the way they are."
Mr McVicar criticised the current family group conference system, which involves the family, friends, police, and victims, deciding on an offender's punishment. "The family group conference system was sold as world class ... I think it's the biggest disaster to ever happen to our justice system..."
Attack victim well after brain surgery
"A violent attack near The Square in the weekend left a 23-year-old Palmerston North man unconscious in the gutter with serious head injuries. Wellington surgeons removed part of Jonathan Thompson's skull to relieve pressure from brain swelling caused by his injuries.
It is not known whether he sustained head injuries by falling or being punched or kicked in his head.
His friend, Teri Maaka, said it was a disgusting, unprovoked attack on someone in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mr Thompson was walking alone beside The Square when a group allegedly attacked him. He underwent surgery at Palmerston North Hospital before being flown to Wellington Hospital by the Square Trust Rescue Helicopter. He is expected to make a full recovery..."
Read about how Palmerston North's (the city that 'banned' the number 13) entry in Wikipedia was censored to remove references to crime and gangs in case it scared off professionals from settling in the city: "MidCentral Health medical recruitment consultant Christine Wood said there had been two cases where doctors, one from Israel and another from Germany, had declined work in Palmerston North after looking the city up on Wikipedia."
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