We need a hand: Police rebuke elderly's claims

By Sam Hurley

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Police have hit back at claims they have not responded to crime around Flaxmere's Swansea retirement village and are calling on the community to help them catch the criminals.

The response comes after four cars were broken into last Friday night, prompting Swansea residents to contact Hawke's Bay Today because of a perceived lack of security and preventative measures by police.

The retirement village has become a targeted area for crime, with some residents afraid to leave their front doors, while others struggle to sleep at night. Swansea Village is the Hastings District Council's largest housing for the elderly, with 64 flats.

Flaxmere Community Constable Greg Andrew acknowledged that crime around Swansea was an issue but the problem was much wider than just one location. He said police and the district council had been working closely with the retirement village around safety and security since last October.

"Police and the council have consulted with the residents on a number of occasions and we have implemented various ideas and solutions to a recent upsurge in crime in the area.

This includes discussions around possible fencing alterations, CCTV systems and increased police and security patrols for the immediate area," Mr Andrew said.

The police view was that responsibility for preventing and solving crime did not lie solely with them and the community's help was required.

"We need the full co-operation of the whole community to tackle this problem and, quite frankly, it isn't happening," Mr Andrew said.

"There are people in Flaxmere who know what crime is being committed and who is responsible for it. Every time we make public calls for help or information, we are met by a deathly silence.

"We cannot solve this crime problem alone and if people refuse to provide information or help us, then our job is made 10 times harder. It is up to the community to help itself - nothing will change if we don't get that co-operation."

Police said they would continue to work with the council and retirement village residents to reduce crime in the area.

Local councillor Henare O'Keefe was recently contacted by Swansea residents and pledged his support to a campaign to increase security measures in the village.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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