The issue is being addressed jointly by Lae police management and the Office of Member for Lae, John Rosso.
“I had called for the removal of new illegal squatter settlements last year. A working committee was set up but it has somewhat slowed down on its efforts. I will again push for this as the bulk of street sellers and petty criminals come from these new illegal settlements,” said Lae metropolitan superintendent, Anthony Wagambie Jnr.
“We need Government bodies to seriously work with us the Police to address this issue. If we keep the doors open, we will keep on experiencing people flooding in without any form of employment or means of earning an honest income, taking to street selling which leads to petty crimes.
“Police at Main Market have gradually been clamping down on this but it is still not enough.
“People who tamper and steal from vehicles, as well as bag snatchers and street sellers, operate in coordinated groups.
“I am in talks with potential sponsors who have shown their willingness to assist with CCTV to be trialled at the Main Market, concentrating on the carpark and bus stop. Police will be in control of this and will be monitoring so that we will be able to pinpoint these groups for apprehension and prosecution.
“Major crimes in the city have decreased, but it is these opportunist petty crimes that have to be managed and controlled.
“We are also jointly embarking on a plan with the Member for Lae to have the Police numbers increased before mid this year. This is a move sanctioned by my office and Member for Lae. The Member for Lae will be making that announcement very soon.
“Any plans must be approved and sanctioned by Police as the lead agency.
“Public safety is paramount and we will carry out plans to ensure that our citizens are safe to go about their daily activities.”
(Lae main market)