Rotorua police have stepped up vigilance in preventing gang-related crime, but say recent gang activity is not unusual for Rotorua.

Shots were allegedly fired in Kuirau Park near a busy market and children's playground on Saturday morning.

Rotorua police acting Area Commander and area prevention manager Inspector Stuart Nightingale said there was the possibility of retaliation.

"As a result of that our staff know to be vigilant in terms of stopping cars, following a very firm proactive approach in terms of dealing with gang members, executing searches without warrant where the search powers exist, and making sure they are kept safe," he said.


"We've had an incident, there could be follow up and we want them to be on their game."

Mr Nightingale said gang violence in Rotorua had its peaks and troughs but was no different to other provincial towns with similar dynamics or levels of deprivation.

"We need the public to be another set of eyes and ears for us," he said.

"We'd really love the public to call us, when you see a car of gang members going past so we can stop them. Whanau also need to be vigilant with calling in when they're worried about a family member or person they know, so that they can get the help they need."

Mr Nightingale said the best means to preventing gang related crime was to improve the lives of young people.

"It's typical of the gang member mindset, and consistent with the younger mindset that they tend to act out of emotion and with a sense of bravado and wanting to impress their fellow gang members," he said.

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"It's safe to assume that when there are issues around unemployment and a lack of education, they may feel that there is a strong attraction to get involved with a criminal gang."

Mr Nightingale said police did not want to see people getting into a gang lifestyle, because nothing good came out of it.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the gang related activity was nothing new, and police were doing a great job to prevent it.

"I don't see any evidence of an increase in patches in town," she said.

"We know our gangs, they come and they go. Community safety remains our top priority."

Mrs Chadwick said no one on the council or within police condoned gang behaviour.

"With correct education and healthcare and opportunities there may be a way out," she said.

"I'd like to see the funding go to that."