Do you feel safe in the CBD and what are the council and police doing to make it better? Journalist Kelly Makiha was in a Rotorua Lakes Council meeting to hear an update on the city's safety patrols.
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Rotorua's central city is no more crime-ridden than last year but the public's perception of safety has got worse, the Rotorua Lakes Council has been told.
That was the summary councillors heard at a council meeting on Thursday when its staff and police gave an update on its central city safety strategy.
Councillors were updated on the patrol, which has seen the council invest in private security patrols, city guardians and CCTV monitoring since December last year.
The cost of the patrol wasn't mentioned in the council meeting but the Rotorua Daily Post reported in November it was costing about $28,000 a month.
The strategy sees security staff and city guardians patrol on a rostered basis throughout the day and night, with a focus on the weekends when there were more reports of criminal activity.
Police leaders at the meeting said statistics showed reported crime was no worse at this time of year than last year, but it was in fact better than two years ago.
When councillor Sandra Kai Fong asked why public perceptions around safety weren't improving, council community and regulatory services manager Kurt Williams said there were several factors driving it, including the increased presence of people living in Ministry of Social Development-approved accommodation in the central city.
He said having people "hanging" around the streets and sleeping in doorways was not criminal but it left people feeling unsafe.
Mayor Steve Chadwick asked if once the council's housing plan was under way, could it address the night shelter?
Williams said there were probably more people living in ministry-approved accommodation in the CBD than at the night shelter.
"The operator of the night shelter is conscious of the issue and wants to work with us to resolve it and he doesn't think they are in the right place at the moment."
Councillors Raj Kumar and Peter Bentley raised an incident that happened at Hennessy's Irish Bar last week when allegedly a knife was pulled on staff members and police didn't respond for 30 minutes.
Senior Sergeant Karl Konlechner said all police responses were determined by what else was happening. He said if there were family harm incidents at the same time and there were threats of violence, police would respond to that first.
However, police did acknowledge that given what happened, the response time was "unfortunate".
Konlechner confirmed one youth was arrested in relation to that incident.
He said police had told councillors at its last meeting they had a record of 103 family harm incidents in one week. He said that had unfortunately been surpassed last week by 105 reports.
"It does take away resources from the CBD."
He said police had increased resources this week after the Hennessy's incident and had also noted there was a current trend of youths stealing cars from the central city and trying to "bait" police into pursuits.
Councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait asked why there wasn't a zero-tolerance approach to youths instead of "waffling around".
Konlechner said youths were dealt with in a certain way because simply arresting them only introduced them to the criminal justice system and that past approach had not worked.
Councillor Reynold Macpherson wondered if the council's CBD patrols worked and called for a review of the strategy.
"Will we in a year's time be addressing the same things. Is it time to address the strategy itself."