Family's plans set back by mindless car vandalism
It was the middle of the night and Lisa Olivier had just sat down to breast-feed her 4-month-old son when she heard a ruckus outside.
She woke husband Andy, who found about four or five youths, inexplicably, kicking their car.
The single-income family, who have just moved into their first home on Spreydon's Coronation St after months of saving for a deposit, is now facing a $900 insurance excess they could have done without.
Buying a new car seat for baby Jackson is now on hold. So is planting a garden. They will have to save up for those for another few months.
After kicking off both of the car's side mirrors, smashing the headlights, and denting the body of the car about 2am on Sunday, the vandals moved on to other targets: neighbours' letterboxes and another vehicle down the street.
By the time police arrived, the intoxicated group of four to five young men was gone.
Their female associates sitting on the roadside declined to tell the officers who was responsible - they were more concerned about getting a ride to Burnside.
Sleep is precious as a new mum. Lisa Olivier got about two hours that night.
Andy Olivier, 29, who swept up the broken glass about 3am, was due at work in Rolleston about 7.30am.
The couple had bought the 2006 Nissan March, "a granny car", for his daily commute because it was economic on the gas. It will be off the road for about six weeks.
The couple has things in perspective. It is just a car, they said.
Many mothers do not have the luxury of a car and as house prices in Christchurch skyrocket, plenty of young couples are unable to buy a house.
They can re-jig their budget and delay treats, like introducing Jackson to close friends in Auckland.
Andy Olivier can use their other car to get work.
Mostly they were disappointed by the youths' lack of sympathy.
"I'm sure they didn't wake up the next morning and think, ‘I wonder who owned that car and how our actions affected their lives'?" Lisa Olivier said.
"I still think this is a great neighbourhood," Andy Olivier said.
"It's just disappointing. We worked really hard to get a deposit together to buy a house. You have all the unexpected costs. This is not one of the things you expect to pay for when you move in."
Acting Inspector Corrie Parnell said police took minor crime seriously, because those were the things that really annoyed people.
"There's no mentality of, ‘it's a [kicked-in] letterbox so we're prepared to accept it'. No. It's ultimately still offending. If you don't nip it in the bud, it can escalate into other crime."
The police's youth crime unit focused on a core group of 20 to 30 youth offenders responsible for wilful damage, such as etching bus windows and kicking in letterboxes, Parnell said.
"Some people do things they wouldn't do in the cold light of day. Some are hard-wired. They make it their mission to cause damage. We stamp on those pretty sternly, in terms of charging, wherever possible."
- © Fairfax NZ News