EAST Albury IGA supermarket owner Bob Mathews wants the community to fight back against crime in the Borella Road shopping strip.
He invited 3500 East Albury residents to a meeting on Saturday over the issue.
“There’s violence and there’s bashings, and the shoplifting is just out of control,” he said.
“The level of crime in this Newmarket shopping strip is just not acceptable.”
Mr Mathews’ family runs the East Albury IGA supermarket — which has been closed for nine weeks because of an arson attack — plus four other stores.
Residents and fellow business owners who attend Saturday’s event will also be given tours of renovations to the supermarket.
Builders have been working flat out on the store, which is expected to reopen in about two months.
Mr Mathews said Saturday’s event, to start at 10am, would be all about working out how the community could work together to find solutions.
“We don’t want to talk vigilante stuff, we don’t want to talk redneck, we just want to talk about ways that nice people can help each other,” he said.
Mr Mathews said he had had nearly 20 break-ins at the East Albury supermarket in the past three to four years.
“The Newmarket general store has had about the same level,” he said.
“And I know the woman who runs the mower shop near here says the only way people haven’t got into her shop is through the floor.
“They’ve come in through the roof, through the walls.”
Mr Mathews said the shoplifting had got so bad “that we don’t even try to stop it.”
“There’s no point running around after people to stop these kids from stealing from you, because you don’t look after the 99 per cent of customers who are really good,” he said.
“It’s very difficult.”
Mr Mathews said there were a couple of ways to effectively target the problem.
“A representative of (member for Farrer) Sussan Ley’s office is going to be there talking about the availability of funding,” he said.
“That might be able to provide CCTV cameras along the strip, and then we want to talk to the council about the ability to increase the lighting — if there’s not adequate lighting you’re wasting your time (on cameras).”
Mr Mathews said they would like to talk to the police — who would be represented at the meeting — about quicker response times to East Albury.
“I think there’s a huge issue about our neighbours in Australia — we don’t look after them as we should,” he said.
Everyone is invited to the meeting and sausage sizzle outside the IGA.