19 Sep 2023

AT says anti-social behaviour a growing issue after stabbing

From Checkpoint, 5:14 pm on 19 September 2023

"There are no words to describe how much he will be loved and missed."

The family of a man killed at an Auckland bus depot has paid tribute to their son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew and friend.

The 24-year-old died in hospital after being stabbed during an altercation at the Albany Bus Station.

A 16-year-old has appeared in court charged with murder.

Auckland Transport is promising more security on its buses for the foreseeable future but said growing anti-social behaviour was an all-of-society problem.

It was a very different scene at Albany Bus Station today to the chaos and panic of yesterday when emergency services tried to save the man's life.

The cordons had been lifted and the busy North Shore bus station was back up and running, but a heavy police and security presence remained to reassure commuters traumatised by what they saw at the station.

Two police officers were roaming Platform B where the incident took place.

"I was on the bus it was like 20 minutes before it all went down, so it was pretty scary.

"When I came home last night, I got back to Albany at about 1am and there was security everywhere, so at least it's good that that's there now," said one commuter.

"I didn't expect something like that you know, I stay here in Albany and when my husband told me about it, I was actually planning on going out yesterday and it was going to be around the same time. "

Albany Ward councillor Wayne Walker said the attack was an absolute tragedy and has shocked the community.

Walker said the council was working together with Police and Auckland Transport to ensure security measures were tightened but he wanted to assure the public it was safe at the depot.

"We've got to do things better, but it is a really good facility and people should have a lot of confidence in being able to catch a bus safely here."

It was not the first time Walker had dealt with public safety issues at a Park and Ride with issues at the Silverdale Park and Ride earlier this year.

"There's no question that there's been an issue with youth, there appears to be a situation where youth circulate around the region.

"There may be some turf wars going on certainly we've had instances of muggings and so on."

He said more needed to be done.

"Somehow we have to get to the root of these things, what's driving them, what are the societal things that are enabling these things to happen."

A university student who regularly caught the bus at Albany station told RNZ she also had a frightening incident recently.

"Last week when me and two of my other friends were on the bus there was a girl who was yelling at us ... just out of nowhere we just tried to ignore her and she pulled a knife out of her bag."

AT chief executive Dean Kimpton described the increase in anti-social behaviour as "troubling".

"I think it's a societal issue first and foremost yes, of course, we need increased policing and we need to train our people to manage this and we'll look at security guards and systems to protect, but I have a view that some of this comes down to individual responsibility."

Kimpton said it was not a problem isolated to Auckland, or to buses.

"Other jurisdictions are seeing similar increases in this sort of behaviour and we're also seeing it on our roads and more risk-taking and more aggressive driving, so we're seeing a play out [on a] number of fronts."

Youth worker Aaron Hendry was worried for Aotearoa's young people.

"We've got young people that are living on our streets, living in emergency accommodation, young people that don't have safety, stability and the care and support that they need.

"That is, I guess, a huge driving factor to seeing that sort of harmful behaviour happening in our communities."

Hendry said tougher punitive measures were not the only answer.

"Punitive measures don't work and they don't create community safety if we want to create community safety, we need to have a conversation as a community about what it means to really adequately care for our young people and also create connected safe communities."

The 16-year-old boy charged with murder will appear in court again next month.