Gang thefts and burning cars: Has CBD police presence pushed trouble elsewhere?Posted by On

By Laura Smith for Local Democracy Reporting

Burnt out car in Fordlands in Rotorua

A burnt out car in Fordlands, a western suburb of Rotorua.
Photo: LDR / Ben Fraser

Questions have been raised about whether an increased police and guardian presence in Rotorua’s inner city has pushed problems elsewhere.

Rotorua Lakes Council’s community and district development committee met on Wednesday and received an update on the community safety strategy.

The council’s community wellbeing deputy chief executive Anaru Pewhairangi and Rotorua area prevention manager inspector Phil Gillbanks jointly presented an update on what had been achieved over the summer and reiterated longer-term goals like reducing crime and antisocial behaviour.

Pewhairangi said the approach focused on the visibility of police alongside the council and ensuring better joint responsiveness to reassure the community.

A December Rotorua Safety and Wellbeing Survey found 50 percent of respondents wanted to see more police in the city.

Between 14 percent and 17 percent felt encouraged by the presence of Māori wardens.

Pewhairangi said having more police visibility was in progress, as was having more integrated deployment between police, Safe City guardians, regulatory staff and security partners.

Signage, such as for alcohol bans, had been improved, and more work was needed on public education and community safety awareness initiatives such as sharing crime prevention advice. A community constable had been reinstated last month.

Rotorua Lakes Council community wellbeing deputy chief executive Anaru Pewhairangi.

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