Collaboration between agencies in Hamilton aims to reduce crime and boost safety in the CBD.

Hamilton City Council, along with several other parties, is working on a city safety plan which aims to address crime and anti-social behaviour.

As part of that, The People's Project has been established in Garden Place.

The People's Project sees several government-funded agencies, such as Work and Income, Police, and mental health providers in a building on the Victoria St side of Garden Place.


One of the contributors to the safety plan is Hamilton Central Business Association.

HCBA general manager Sandy Turner said the plan is not about pushing vagrants out of the CBD, but rather looking for a solution to a problem.

"The People's Project has received amazing support from agencies. It is being resourced at a cost to those community groups and organisations such as ourselves," said Ms Turner.

"The purpose is the people who want support have a one-stop shop. There are going to be all the solutions in one room rather than going to 10 different appointments. They will be able to go to one space and deal with their issues and needs."

Ms Turner said the project was innovative and unique.

"You do have to step back and ask if one agency can sort the problem out? No, they can't. It makes sense for a change. It is pretty tough for some people to ask for help and identify their issues are spiralling out of control."

Ms Turner said the establishment of The People's Project sends a clear message.

"We are mindful that people have got some serious issues that have to be dealt with, but we can't allow it to impact our investment in our central city. It has to be firm, but fair."

The safety plan has five goals: reported crime is reduced, reported nuisance behaviours are reduced, the homeless population will be reduced to zero by 2016, young people are engaged in a safe and responsible way, and people use and enjoy public spaces.

Mayor Julie Hardaker said the parties had been working on the plan for a year.

"We collected all the information and, responding to the community, we came up with this plan," said Ms Hardaker.

"What we are trying to achieve is build on the decisions the council made when it did the annual budget. We signed off on a proposal in our last budget to put some funding into safety.

"There are a number of things we are already doing, but we wanted to bring them all together so we can track it and monitor it."

A public safety by-law has been proposed to support the plan and will mean behaviour considered to be nuisance, offensive, or a threat to public safety, will be forbidden and able to be enforced by council. The next step for the by-law is public consultation to give the community their say.

Hamilton Night Shelter manager Peter Humphreys said the shelter is busier than ever and questioned how the city's homeless population could be reduced to zero.

"Where are these people going to go? Quite often they need intensive support," said Mr Humphreys.

"The concern is always where do they go to from the night shelter, especially people with mental and addiction issues. You can't find them a flat because trying to keep them there is challenge."

He said there needs to be a bigger emphasis on public education around begging.

"I was over in Britain where they have a campaign aimed at begging called 'Your kindness could kill'."

The campaign advises people not to give money to people begging and instead encourages them to donate to local charities which can provide lasting support. He said the bylaw could create more issues, as people on the streets are unlikely to be able to pay fines or turn up to court.

"It would be great to see everything sorted by 2016. If The People's Project takes off it would be great, we need that in Hamilton."

The plan will focus on the CBD and will cost council $48,000 for six new CCTV cameras and an additional operating budget of $314,000 for additional City Safe patrols, extension of litter collection, increase in vegetation management in key sites, and bylaw enforcement costs.

Area prevention manager Inspector Marcus Lynam said The People's Project is a way for people to get the help they need and the plan focus on prevention first.

"It is around looking at those underlying causes and what is causing them to be homeless and addressing that through social agencies. We are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff so having those agencies we can refer them onto. We are really conscious that the people not only feel safe, but are safe."

More information about the City Safety Plan, its goals, actions and targets can be found at