Rotorua Lakes Council staff hope to continue a summer safety campaign after the initiative saw crime in the central city drop almost 17 per cent year on year.

The campaign started in mid-December after police survey results showed people felt unsafe in the inner city at night, and businesses also made separate complaints.

Since the introduction, crime in the Rotorua central city between December 14 and January 13 reduced 16.9 per cent year on year.

The Rotorua Lakes Council and police are putting that down to the summer safety partnership.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick in the Rotorua CBD. Photo / File
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick in the Rotorua CBD. Photo / File

At a Rotorua Lakes Council, Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting Senior Sergeant Denis Murphy said initially "the perception was that the Rotorua CBD was awash with the homeless".

"Then we started to realise the problem was 15 to 20 offenders, a finite number, and they weren't homeless."

At the meeting councillor Charles Sturt said, "homeless people have been getting a hiding for anti-social behaviour ... but if people are using that tag to do their criminal work that needs to be widely known".

Rotorua Lakes councillor Charles Sturt. Photo / File
Rotorua Lakes councillor Charles Sturt. Photo / File

Police have distributed photos of the offenders and a list of trespass orders to security staff.

The number of inner-city crimes in the busy four-week period decreased 16.9 per cent between the 2017/18 period and 2018/2019 period. In the latter period, there were 210 crimes.

The council has also clamped down on trespassing, particularly for Jean Batten Square, the library and the iSite.

Council staff member Richard Horn said the increase in CCTV monitoring hours had allowed security to be proactive rather than reactive to suspicious behaviour.

Mayor Steve Chadwick described it as a "great partnership" and one of the best summers in years for Rotorua.


Council's acting operations manager Henry Weston said staff were yet to finalise the extra security costs.

"My feeling is that no doubt something needs to continue ... knowing exactly what that looks like requires a bit more analysis."

Rotorua Lakes councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait. Photo / File
Rotorua Lakes councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait. Photo / File

Councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait said it was "imperative" social service providers were included to work with people on the street with mental health issues.

"They will otherwise fall through the gaps," she said.

Inner city safety changes

- From December 11, police, security staff and the Safe City Guardians increased their presence in the inner city and patrolled the streets together whenever possible between 8am and 4am.

- Council CCTV footage has been monitored more frequently from Thursdays to Sundays, with daily briefings for staff.

- Council staff have also worked on bringing more live entertainment and events to the central city area.