Inside the Outback town where a gang of out-of-control teens run riotDecember 11, 2022
Chaos in the Outback: Inside the rural town where a gang of out-of-control teens known as ‘6770 boys’ run riot – as locals fear for their lives and don’t dare leave their homes
- Halls Creek in WA’s Kimberley region has been overrun with unruly teenagers
- Youths have been stealing cars, damaging property and uploading antics online
- Police patrols have increased but residents say they’re afraid to go out at night
- TikTok videos show youths in stolen cars taunting police and doing burn-outs
A remote Australian town is being overrun by unruly teenagers who steal cars, destroy property and cause havoc on the streets – leaving residents too scared to leave their homes.
Halls Creek, in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, has descended into chaos in recent months with a group of boys terrorising locals and bragging about their antics on TikTok.
Videos shared to the social media platform show them hooning around the streets in stolen cars, driving on to the wrong side of the road and performing donuts.
The teens have also been damaging homes at random and hurling rocks at businesses and locals.
In one viral clip, two cars are seen driving erratically around a suburban street in the dead of the night, with the vehicles nearly smashing into each other.
Halls Creek in Western Australia’s Kimberley region has descended into chaos with teens stealing cars and damaging property
‘Aw s**t,’ a girl filming the group cries out before bursting into laughter.
Two boys can also be seen hanging onto the car in the back of a ute’s tray as it spins around in a burn-out.
Similar videos have been shared to TikTok with young men wearing shirts over their heads to cover their faces – and referring to themselves as the ‘6770 boys’, the postcode of the town.
Another clip shows boys hooning across a dirt field leaving behind a huge cloud of dust, while a police car follows closely in pursuit.
The boys taunt police by performing a donut right in front them, before speeding off down a suburban road.
Halls Creek has been terrorised by a group of youths who steal cars and upload their antics onto TikTok
One car, believed to be stolen, was flipped as police tried to pursue the group of teens
Halls Creek is located east of Broome, Western Australia toward the border of the Northern Territory
One of the town’s estimated 4,000 residents, Kirsten Thomson, said the community had become ‘totally lawless’.
‘These kids are now attacking people to steal from them . . . so I don’t go out at night anymore,’ she told The West.
A 12-year-old boy was recently hit in the head with a rock while he was sitting in a car at an intersection.
He had to be flown to hospital to be treated for a serious head injury, and a 19-year-old has since been charged with grievous bodily harm.
The crime rates have escalated so much that police and local government figures held an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss how to best tackle the issue.
Halls Creek locals say the crime has gotten so bad they’re too afraid to leave their homes at night
One video shows a car hooning across a dirt field leaving behind a huge cloud of dust
In attendance was Kimberley Police District Superintendent Craig Parkin and East Kimberley Inspector Peter Jenal, along with members from the local government and the education department.
WA Police launched Operation Regional Shield earlier this year to increase the number of officers patrolling the region.
Shire of Halls Creek President, Malcolm Edwards, said nearly every second day there were reports of a car being stolen.
‘There’s a concern somebody’s going to get killed, whether it’s a pedestrian or someone in the vehicle – everyone in Halls Creek has had enough of it,’ he told 6PR Radio.
‘They’re all worried about their car getting stolen, kids are hot wiring them, it’s a real problem.
‘They (the teens) want attention that’s what it is, these kids come from dysfunctional homes, homes that are overcrowded, there’s no love at home – all that doesn’t help.’
In October four nurses working at the Peoples Church Frail Aged Centre in Halls Creek quit, fearing for their safety.
One nurse at the aged care facility, Casta McCullough, 32, said a group of youths had thrown rocks towards staff and the centre, hitting one worker in the head.
The group of youths regularly share videos of their antics onto TikTok while police patrol has increased in the area
She said she heard something that sounded like ‘gunshots’ going off.
‘The residents were crying, all you could hear was smash, smash, smash,’ she told the Kimberley Echo at the time.
Shockingly, staff at the centre have rocks thrown at them ‘all the time’ but this time was worse than before, the nurse added.
A window at the aged care home was smashed, as was a van’s windscreen, with some of the thugs thought to be as young as 12.
The rock that went through the window also hit a staff member in the head.
The chaos began at around 7pm when the group of youths approached nurses sitting outside and asked for water.
When the request was refused, the children started throwing rocks at the staff.
She said the gang called them ‘c****’ and ‘a********’ and threatened to go after the women.
The staff members ran inside the front door before the entrance was smashed, Ms McCullough said, adding that the gang knew there was no security at the facility.
The nurses called the police because they were afraid the youths were going to break in.
The horrifying ordeal lasted for about five minutes but the kids came back later that night and smashed the windows of a bus.
A police car is seen trailing behind a stolen car that taunts the officer inside
Ms McCullough and three other nurses, who were all employed through an agency, have since left Halls Creek, with the 32-year-old flying home to Airlie Beach and vowing never to go back.
She said she was ‘very upset’ to leave the 18 residents, which now have just two agency nurses and four local staff looking after them.
‘I wasn’t prepared to leave like that, I was in disbelief,’ she said.
The local Kimberley Hotel has taken measures of its own, and installed an electric fence around the pub to prevent burglaries.
Halls Creek recorded 863 burglary, property damage, arson and stealing incidents in 2021-22, up from 595 in the previous 12 months.
More than 300 children have been charged with offences in the region during 2022, according to figures tabled in parliament.
The town has long grappled with drug and alcohol issues, domestic violence, school truancy and a high suicide rate.
Many of the children who are out at night live in overcrowded housing and, according to locals, are largely left to fend for themselves.
Casta McCullough (pictured) was working as a nurse at the Peoples Church Frail Aged Centre in remote Halls Creek, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, when it was attacked by rocks that ‘sounded like gun shots’
Kevin Hunter, who supervises the youth engagement night officers at Olabud Doogethu, an Aboriginal-led justice reinvestment program in Halls Creek, said the situation was weighing on the locals.
His small team works five nights a week, patrolling the streets into the early hours and providing feedback to family support case managers.
On a busy night, they might encounter dozens of children. Most are teenagers but some are as young as six.
Crime fell when the program launched in 2019 but it has proved to be a temporary reprieve.
‘At the beginning, it was pretty much like a walk in the park. They sat down and listened,’ Mr Hunter said.
‘Now it’s got a bit more ugly. There’s a lot more swearing, rock throwing, a lot of car thefts.
‘We try to have a chat with them but as soon as they see us, they take off.
‘The older ones, we can’t really do much with them. It’s just the kids, try to get them home in bed for school the next day.’
He added that the parents of the youths ‘need to step their game up’.
‘They need to start being parents,’ Mr Hunter said.
After Thursday’s meeting it’s understood more housing and youth social programs will be brought in.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)
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