Mayor Calls For Action On Crime

Published: Fri 8 Nov 2002 10:24 AM
Mayor Calls For Action On Crime
Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis has expressed his deepest sympathy for the family of security guard Mamoe Kaisala, who was stabbed to death outside a games parlour in Manukau. Sir Barry said the senseless killing has robbed his family of a loving father, husband and grandfather who had contributed to his community in so many ways.
"I am appalled by this murder and have called an urgent meeting with the Police Minister George Hawkins and the Chief Superintendent Ted Cox to convey my concerns, and the concerns of the community as a whole, about the growing threat of violence and crime.
"The weekend murder is sadly reflective of the level of casual violence that is all too common today.
"The number one issue concerning Manukau residents is now crime and safety, and with good reason. Recent high-profile killings and other violent incidents have been deeply disturbing, and call for a social response. Clearly, what has been done in terms of prevention so far has not worked"
A recent citizens survey conducted for the council indicates that although most people (80%) rated the city as a good or excellent place to live and work, crime and antisocial behaviour is the main concern.
28% mentioned crime prevention and law and order and safety in the community as an issue (Citizens Perception Survey June 2002). A national survey earlier this year also revealed crime as a major concern among New Zealanders as a whole.
Sir Barry says, "The latest crime figures confirm our decision to make community safety a key priority for the council in the future. We are committed to making Manukau a safer city. It's a quality of life issue and we will be working closely with the police and other agencies such as Safer Manukau on crime prevention. "Crime alone is only part of the problem. The other element is aggressive and antisocial behaviour generally, including noisy street-racing, graffiti and drunken yobbish behaviour.
"It's not just in Manukau. It happens everywhere in the Auckland region. Fundamentally, something has gone seriously wrong. We must ask why there are so many people - primarily young males - who are prepared to be casually violent and break the law in greater numbers than ever before.
"There are so many angry, irresponsible people on the streets who don't accept boundaries on their behaviour. As a result, Auckland by day is not the same as Auckland by night.
"Generally, most street crimes are youth-related but in Manukau we have youth offending rates above the national average. Criminals and vandals are becoming younger and younger and increasingly defiant.
"Poverty is not always the cause. Most people who are poor don't commit crimes or burgle houses, in particular women, who are generally on lower incomes than men but are less likely to commit violent crime. They just get on with life.
"Equally, most people in the areas with substantial crime increases - Otara and Mangere - are decent and law abiding. They are victims of crime. The criminal element is very small in number but has a huge impact. Hundreds of homes can be burgled by just one person or a group of burglars.
"Residents become afraid that they will be next, and a sense of fear can permeate their lives.
"Counties Manukau police do an excellent job. But they need more resources and officers. At the moment there are dozens of vacancies in the region and I believe stronger efforts must be made to fill those vacancies.
"However the police aren't responsible for this behaviour which should not be occurring at all. It is communities and families who must take ownership of the problem.
"The time has come for central government, the council and the community to come up with a strategy to turn the situation around."

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