Boy racers back at it in Christchurch and no neighbourhood is safe

A spike in boy racers has residents, hotels and car enthusiasts at their wits' end.
NZ STANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

A spike in boy racers has residents, hotels and car enthusiasts at their wits' end.

No neighbourhood is safe from Christchurch's boy racers.

Police say there has been a recent spike in boy racer issues in the city, despite the problem generally decreasing. 

Hotels have had enough and residents are angry. It is understood a small criminal group – including a man recently released from prison – may be to blame for some of the latest issues.

Evidence of aggressive driving on Summit Rd in Christchurch's Port Hills.
DEAN KOZANIC/FAIRFAX NZ

Evidence of aggressive driving on Summit Rd in Christchurch's Port Hills.

A car enthusiast group has suggested using the residential red zone for meet-ups, driving and burnouts. 

READ MORE: 
Fears boy racer problem is 'creeping back' to Lyttelton Harbour
Christchurch city councillor Tim Scandrett proposes Summit Rd cruising ban
Banks Peninsula residents demand action over 'worsening' boy racer problem

At a meeting in Governors Bay on Monday, Sergeant Gary Hancock told residents that of the 1800 complaints about boy racers last year, 82 came from their part of the city.

Worst hit were the four avenues – Moorhouse, Bealey, Deans and Fitzgerald – where 120 complaints came from.   

"We have a city in crisis."

People's peace of mind was "being held to ransom," Hancock said. 

Christchurch has a history of boy racer issues, particularly before the earthquakes. The city council introduced a cruising ban in the four avenues and west and north of Christchurch in 2009 and 2010. 

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Hancock said meant the public jumped to conclusions that any person driving a loud or modified car was an offender. 

That was not always the case. Those participating in legitimate cruises and meet-ups made a lot of noise, Hancock said. 

"The harm and discomfort they are causing, it's just horrendous, that's where so many of the complaints come from.

"No-one's neighbourhood is safe."

Governors Bay residents told the meeting they suffered sleepless nights and frequent near-misses because of boy racers invading the area on weekend nights. The roads were scarred with rubber marks and oil stains. 

"You lie there at night and you can hear them and you sort of wait for the bang," said David Rhodes, whose parked car was written off when a boy racer crashed into it on Christmas Eve. 

Hancock said by focusing on boy racers in Christchurch, police had a better chance of taking cars off the road for good.

Deans Ave hotel Argyle On The Park owner Peter Borodin​ said boy racers cost him business and customer complaints. 

"They come every 15 minutes on a Friday and Saturday night. They race each other. It's so loud we can see the windows shaking." 

"It keeps you up all night." 

Senior Sergeant Kelly Larsen, of the Canterbury road policing team the problem was how cars were driven.

"They accelerate really heavily and then they have to brake really heavily for the next red light. It's the noise that causes sleepless nights," Larsen said.

If the noise was addressed , half the complaints about boy racers would disappear, Larsen said. 

CAR ENTHUSIASTS WANT TO USE RED ZONE

Car enthusiast Corey Farrant said a car meet-up was like going for a drink on a Saturday night. 

Farrant is a part of an online group of about 350 who regularly met, talked about cars and went for a drive.

"We need somewhere permanent. The red zone is just sitting there.

"People could do burn-outs in a controlled environment if they wanted to, the police could be there too."   

The group informed police about their plans.

A small selection of drivers gave his cruising group a bad reputation, he said. 

If people were concerned about boy racer activity, police said they needed to record specific information like the time, date and registration number so they could act on the complaint.

Police would not comment on the recently-released offender Stuff has learned may be causing some of the recent boy racing issues. 

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 - Stuff

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