Huge support for Guardians

Rotorua's City Safe Guardians play an important role in keeping the central city safe - especially when it comes to keeping "riff raff" in line, one retailer says.

Results from a Rotorua District Council survey reveal retailers believe the council's City Safe Guardians are doing a great job and should be kept on.

The council surveyed central business district (CBD) retail and business outlets in January to gather their views on the City Safe Guardians initiative during 2012.

Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters said from 300 survey forms sent out, 126 businesses responded with many of those supporting the City Safe Guardians and their work.

"These survey results indicate the vast majority - 89 per cent of respondents - believe the council's City Safe Guardian team has had a positive impact on public perceptions of safety in the central city area, which is a very pleasing endorsement of this council programme.

"In this year's survey, retailers and businesses thought the guardians' most important function was crime prevention, while last year when surveyed they said the guardians key role was to provide a physical presence."

More than 90 per cent of respondents believed the programme should continue beyond June 2013, while just 1.5 per cent did not support continuation and 1.5 per cent were unsure.

Mr Winters said an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated they had received visits and information from guardians and feedback from comments made in the survey were very positive.

"Their comments endorsed the City Safe Guardian programme as being instrumental in creating a safer environment in the CBD.

"Retailers have told us that our City Safe Guardians have assisted them with shoplifters and theft reduction, have dealt with unpleasant behaviour and fighting, given help and assistance to many tourists and generally have helped to alleviate retailers' feelings of anxiety when working alone.

"We have heard loud and clear their emphatic request for the City Safe Guardian programme to continue in the future," Mr Winters said.

"Ultimately that's a decision for all elected members to make as part of the current process for developing our annual plan and budgets for the next financial year."

Retailers' comments:

  • They make everyone feel safe, they are always polite and friendly, makes visitors want to stay

  • Before their operation I was very nervous when I was in the shop alone

  • They have helped deal with unpleasant behaviour and shoplifting

  • It is just the start of attracting locals to come back into the inner city

  • I notice that the number of bad youth and suspicious people has decreased a lot

  • Less theft, shop feeling safe

  • They keep the "riff raff" in line and get trouble makers to move along so they aren't putting shoppers off coming into town

- Rotorua Daily Post

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