Vandalism at southern high school 'senseless'

Vandalism at Southland Girls’ High School this week is an example of the senseless and frustrating crime he would like to see stamped out in the city, Invercargill Mayor Nobby Clark says.

Four large window-walls on the gymnasium were smashed by vandals overnight on Tuesday.

School board of trustee chair Aaron McKenzie said police had been notified and repairs on the windows were already under way.

"The school’s caretakers did a fantastic job first thing the following morning to clean up the broken glass.

"Events like this are unfortunate which all schools have to deal with from time to time."

Pupils were not affected, he said.

A broken window at Southland Girls’ High School earlier this week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A broken window at Southland Girls’ High School earlier this week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The vandalism came after a public meeting about crime in the city took place on Saturday night.

Mr Clark chaired a three-hour meeting at which community leaders sought practical solutions to reduce the city’s crime and listened to public feedback.

Diverse opinions were voiced about appropriate consequences but Mr Clark said most perpetrators knew what the difference was between right and wrong.

"Sure, some of them [believe they] are bullet-proof and don’t care less about getting caught ... if they did get caught it’s not the end of the world ..."

He was concerned a "soft-pedal" approach with perpetrators may result in more problems later on.

It gave the wrong message that "people can do these things and there’s not consequences for anybody. It’s too hard to catch them and even if you do catch them they just go to youth aid, family group conference or a youth aid diversion.

"It gives all the wrong messages."

The Otago Daily Times understands no schools were represented at the meeting on Saturday night.

The Invercargill City Council is proposing to install a multi-million-dollar CCTV security network around the city and Bluff.

Council group manager infrastructure Erin Moogan said in October the council had hoped to have the security system installation started by December but now expected work to start in April, with the goal of going live in June 2024.

Stage one would include 65 cameras across Invercargill CBD sites. Stage two would include South City and Bluff.

Mr Clark said it was unlikely any of the new camera installations would cover areas around schools but were more for the business districts and arterial roads.

Some cameras would have plate-recognition capabilities while others would have face recognition.

Council staff were unable to confirm if the vandalism event was captured on CCTV at neighbouring council facilities.

 - By Toni McDonald