The small town of Northam in the Wheatbelt region has big problems with youth crime, and there's no quick fix in sight.
It's been a festering issue for some time, highlighted a week ago when a 20-year-old man was killed in a high-speed car crash on Stirling Street, just several blocks from the town centre, after police tried to stop the vehicle.
The car hit a power pole at such speed it broke into three pieces, smashing into the veranda of a home about 25m away.
Residents had reported hearing police sirens from on-and-off chases in the hours leading up to the tragedy, but officers could not comment because the matter was being investigated.
It comes about a year after Northam hit the headlines for a violent hotel brawl witnessed by WA cabinet minister Terry Redman, who was assaulted during the fracas in what he described as a frightening experience.
Some of his companions were critical of the police response, but a resident of the town, nearly 100km north-east of Perth, told AAP they felt sorry for officers having to attend Northam's violent incidents.
The resident said there was such frequent antisocial behaviour on certain streets that they were considered "no-go zones" - even by police, who were often outnumbered.
She said the root of the problem was bored, disenfranchised young people faced with high youth unemployment and few job opportunities.
Shire of Northam president Steven Pollard said keeping the town's young people amused and on the right path had been difficult for a long time.
A recent rampage by vandals through the town's Agricultural Society Club had destroyed more than 100 years of history, he said.
There was no easy solution.
"I'm not convinced a lack of entertainment or something to do is the main cause," Mr Pollard said.
"I take the view that it's up to everybody to amuse themselves.
"You just have to put up with what you've got, try and work out what you want to do in life and get on with it."
Efforts had been made to keep the town's young people busy with sporting events and excursions - given there's no cinema in town and the beach is a long drive away.
"But there's no model answer as to what creates the situation where a person says 'to hell with it, I'll go and smash something up or go and drink and do drugs, or put my foot down in a car'," Mr Pollard said.
"It's a big social issue.
"A lot of people have tried a lot of things over the years and we haven't seem to have come across the magic bullet so far."
He also wasn't convinced job options were high on the list of Northam youth's priorities.
The agricultural sector offered few opportunities because it had become a victim of its own success, he said, with automation making driverless farm machinery commonplace.
A local steel fabricator and manufacturer had recently shut down after more than 50 years of operations, which had further reduced job prospects in the town, but the new Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre had added more than 100 jobs.
"If the youth are unemployed, but they want to be employed and they can't get a job, that's fair enough," Mr Pollard said.
"But I'm not convinced that every 15-, 16- and 17-year-old is really keen on getting a job."
He said businesses had recently complained to him that offenders had smashed windows and broken into their premises, telling him "this is getting ridiculous"; "the police response is pretty ordinary"; and "we need you as leaders to get something organised".
But he didn't believe heavier punitive measures would make for a safer community.
There was "enough stick out there", he said.
"I'm not sure if half the people are aware of what half the laws are, to be honest," Mr Pollard said.
"It's all well to bring in laws like the one-punch law, but not many people when they're in the midst of starting a fight think about what that law means, or that there's a strike-an-officer-and-you'll-go-to-jail law."
Wheatbelt district office police inspector Ian Clarke said a youth liaison officer had recently been appointed to Northam to work closely with other agencies to determine the reasons for youth offending, which had recently dipped.
"A strong, proactive, high-profile police presence in town, coupled with some recent search warrants and prosecutions, has seen a reduction in offending, in particular juvenile offences," Insp. Clarke said.