‘The driver of the car was just 12 years old’
GANGS of teens are breaking into southern Gold Coast homes and assaulting residents to get luxury cars keys in the latest youth crime trend, state parliament has been warned.
The LNP's Burleigh MP Michael Hart says "the cancer of crime" is spreading south from Logan and Beenleigh to reach the city's most popular family beach suburbs.
Residents on community Facebook pages are complaining about teenage gangs after a photo was posted of a smashed luxury car stolen for a midnight joy ride in Palm Beach.
Mr Hart has told state parliament: "Last Sunday evening we had a spate of instances where youths were out of control, breaking into houses, taking cars and smashing into other cars. There appears to be no consequences for these young thieves."
Teenagers had entered a home on Mawarra Drive, stole the keys to an Audi, and six of them tore around Palm Beach smashing into cars, Mr Hart said.
"They ran into someone's car who was not insured. One can imagine the impact on that person to have to repair their car when it was smashed into when it was just sitting on the side of the road. It was run into by a driver who does not have a licence, does not have any insurance and has stolen the car," he said.
"Worse still, the driver was 12. The problem with youth crime in Queensland appears to be the youth think there are no consequences to breaking the law.
"They know it. We know it. The government knows it and it is doing nothing. Its youth justice program is an utter failure."
A resident said he telephoned police after the Audi crashed at the top of Mawarra Street in the early hours of the morning and he saw six kids flee.
The latest youth crime outcry comes a year after police revealed to the Bulletin frustration at what they called a revolving door policy at Southport Children's Court with a growing list of known offenders getting bail or slaps on the wrist. One officer called for more accountability from parents and other government departments to get involved.
Three months ago police sources again expressed frustration at the "catch and release" of underage thugs running amok at shopping centres and train stations in the city's north. They cannot be shamed in public because of the Youth Justice Act.
Mr Hart said southern Coast youth crime was compounded by lack of police.
Palm Beach Police Station was undermanned by five officers for the past two or three years, he said. "They are sending them north where the problems are.
"Last week I had an instance where somebody knocked on the door of my house. One of his neighbours was assaulted by 12 individuals. He was punched in the face. He dialled triple-0 and it took two hours for police to come.
"I am not blaming our police officers, they are doing the best they possibly can, but they are under-resourced, under-equipped, the budget is down and there are less police. What we need in this state is more police officers."
Police Minister Mark Ryan accused Mr Hart of "misrepresenting the truth" on resourcing.
"The real situation about police numbers on the Gold Coast and Palm Beach specifically has been explained to Mr Hart. He knows the truth," Mr Ryan said.
"There are more police on the Gold Coast than ever," he said, adding 20 more officers were recently deployed with more are coming.
More than 1000 police were based on the Coast.
"Police advise there has not been a reduction in the number of permanent officers at Palm Beach."
Mr Ryan said the government was making significant investments with an $11 million new police Hub at Arundel and a new hub to be built at Pimpama.
Mr Ryan said QPS was operating under a "borderless policing philosophy" where officers were sent in numbers to priority