Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Hamilton calls for multi-agency response to city safety

Hamilton City Council is calling for a strengthened, multi-agency approach to improving city safety.

Councillors will this week be presented with the results of the annual Central City Safety Perceptions survey. The survey measures the community’s views on safety, and shows people feel slightly less safe in the central city now than they did last year.

Council says that residents’ sense of safety was down 8.7% during the day and 14% during the evening, prompting Mayor Paula Southgate to repeat her support for a community-focussed approach to safety.

“I have invited Police to talk with us about how we can work together to make people feel safe. This is an issue for all of us to work on,” she said.

“It’s not something the Council or the Police or any agency can solve on its own. We need the whole community to work together.”

City Safe Unit Manager, Kelvin Powell agreed a multi-agency approach was key.

“We already work closely with the New Zealand Police, support agencies such as The People’s Project who work closely with our city’s homeless population and the local business community to share information and updates,” Powell said.

“We’re looking at ways in which we can promote these partnerships more to ensure Hamiltonians can benefit from them and understand the part they play in keeping our city safe”.

Mr Powell said while the results were expected, it was important to view the survey results in context.

“Over the last six years we’ve seen a continuous improvement in Hamiltonian’s perception of safety and that’s the way we want to keep things moving.”

“The 2020 survey followed the first Covid lockdown which saw reported crimes plummet to an all-time low. So this time, we were bracing for a lower result than the previous year. That’s not to say it’s not disappointing, but it’s not unexpected,” he said.

Information gathered through the survey, along with victimisation data published by New Zealand Police, will be used to update Council’s central city safety workplan for the next 12 months. The Plan is likely to include increased use of public spaces for activities that bring people together and further expansion of lighting improvements.

Council said it will continue to work with its partners to address the culture of alcohol consumption, good host responsibility and anti-social behaviour.

It says there is funding set aside to resource City Safe, which includes central city ambassadors, suburban response team, tag-busters and the monitoring of CCTVs in the city.

Council will also continue to fund the Hamilton Central Business Association over the next three years to support events and activities held in public spaces.

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