There are major concerns about the level of policing in the Tararua, community leaders have told Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott.
"Along with Suresh Patel (chairman of the Dannevirke Chamber of Commerce), I'm concerned that if we don't watch it we are going to end up with very disenchanted police here," Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis said.
"Both Suresh and I are being hassled by local residents about the lack of a visible police presence and burglaries have gone up."
Mr Scott said the statistics are good and crime is down hugely.
And while he acknowledged there was a problem in rural areas, he said, with CCTV security cameras installed throughout Tararua, there was less recorded crime.
Mr Ellis wasn't convinced.
"I believe we're seven or eight police down in Dannevirke and two in Pahiatua.
"We hardly see police on our high streets and we're still getting trivial crime, and the cameras haven't stopped youth from mucking around."
Mr Ellis said it was important young people are seen to be putting right their wrongs.
"I'm sorry to say if we don't get youth to go and put right their wrongs we're in trouble," he said.
"I also believe there has been an overspend on technology within the police. Police officers on foot patrols are the most effective way of combating crime in our communities.
"Police can make up all sorts of excuses but they should listen to real facts from Mr Patel and those down on High St."
However, area commander Inspector Sarah Stewart has told the Dannevirke News police are committed to ensuring they work as effectively and efficiently as possible to provide communities with a service that focuses on their needs and delivers the best value.
"Our work is carried out against a backdrop of success in reducing the number of victimisations.
"In the past year, there has been a 16.7 per cent drop in recorded crime in Dannevirke. The low crime rate means our teams can focus on prevention and being visible in the community," she said.
"We take pride in our community involvement and engagement. For example, our dedicated Dannevirke staff are involved in the youth programme CACTUS (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit and Support) initiative."
Using physical activity to engage youth, the programme's purpose is to develop and support young people through leadership and teamwork.
"Police in Dannevirke are finding physical fitness challenges are a platform for positive outcomes. High school-age participants feel they are safer through having a structure. Early morning marching and parades are part of the programme in Dannevirke," Senior Sergeant Nathan Davis of the Tararua Police said.
"And while the initiative is aimed at youth, its effects are rippling through the community. People are becoming involved through providing breakfasts for the students."
Ms Stewart said police ensure all stations are fully staffed.
"This can sometimes be through local officers and other staff in the central police district and we are currently advertising to recruit two constables for Dannevirke.
"In addition to having local police stations and local officers, police continue to work in partnership with local communities and local government, where appropriate, which can include supporting local community patrols, monitoring CCTV and hosting volunteers in stations.
"This is a long-established partnership aspect of the policing model in New Zealand which is greatly valued," she said.
Mr Patel asked Mr Scott why it seems to be harder to entice police to Dannevirke.
Tararua district councillor Tracey Collis said she'd been talking to police officers' wives who are concerned back-up for their husbands can be up to 20 minutes away.
"In small rural communities it's that lack of back up which is a problem," she said.