Residents warn of ‘zombie apocalypse’ in party suburb

 

A SURFERS Paradise mum is living in fear of leaving home due to a "zombie apocalypse" atmosphere as a local MP says the city's visitor hub is in danger of becoming an "abyss".

The woman revealed she had been "verbally attacked, followed, chased, threatened" plus stolen from on more than 10 occasions recently.

Her grievances were aired in a letter to Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek, in which she detailed how she would not now walk alone after sunset in her own neighbourhood.

"Even my six-year-old stepdaughter was verbally attacked recently while at McDonald's in Cavill Mall on Sunday afternoon with her father," the woman claimed.

Surfers Paradise after dark.
Surfers Paradise after dark.

"The police I have spoken to over the past year have expressed their own frustration (and) the locals feel helpless with some people dubbing the plethora of ice users roaming our streets 'the zombie apocalypse'.

"It's not just a late-night issue, it's happening to couples out for a nice dinner at 7pm and families during broad daylight."

Police sources have also expressed frustration at the related issue of homelessness plaguing Surfers Paradise.

 

 

Police say dealing with homelessness takes a multi-agency response. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Police say dealing with homelessness takes a multi-agency response. Picture: Tertius Pickard

 

The party strip was named the Gold Coast's worst drug hot spot in late 2020 according to Queensland Police data, with more than 1000 ­offences in just 12 months.

The disturbing surge in the suburb's homeless population and a spike in drug crime was blamed on a crackdown on homeless people in neighbouring Southport, a Bulletin report revealed in January.

Police sources said while most of the drug offences would likely relate to the nightclub scene, homelessness in Surfers Paradise was a "large social problem" that "frustrates" officers.

"It is very hard to move them on and we risk becoming like Melbourne a few years ago where they were everywhere," an officer said.

"What can you do? It's not criminal to sit in public looking unsightly. If they commit crime they get charged. But the local businesses are happy to take their money.

"The council desperately handball the issue to police, yet in reality it is a housing, health and council issue."

Mr Langbroek said Surfers Paradise was in danger of becoming "an abyss of homelessness, drug activity and violence".

 

 

Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek warns the party suburb is in danger of becoming an “abyss”. Photo Scott Powick Newscorp
Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek warns the party suburb is in danger of becoming an “abyss”. Photo Scott Powick Newscorp

"The unfortunate reality is there is a risk to the reputation of Surfers Paradise if the reports I am receiving from fearful and frustrated locals are any guide," he said in Parliament on Thursday.

"The Sunday before last I found used 'nangs' in Aubrey St, Surfers Paradise," he said, of a street just blocks from the tourist hub.

"'Nang' is a slang term used to describe these small canisters that are filled with nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, that are increasingly being used as a recreational drug.

"The derelict blocks of homes in Budds Beach have nitrous oxide canisters scattered throughout and people are dealing drugs openly."

Acting Chief Superintendent Geoff Sheldon said it was not a crime to be homeless and police couldn't just arrest their way out of certain problems. He said the QPS was working with a number of agencies to assist rough-sleepers.

He said drug use in Surfers Paradise was "maintaining its steady level". "I wouldn't say it's any worse than we've seen it in recent times," he said.

 

brianna.morris-grant@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Residents warn of 'zombie apocalypse' in party suburb

 


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