7 Apr 2024

Council funding boost to fight Auckland CBD crime

9:50 am on 7 April 2024
A homeless man waits to cross the road on Auckland's Queen Street.

(File photo) Photo: RNZ / Bailey Brannon

An employers' representative has welcome the news of a funding boost for downtown Auckland safety and security.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has announced an extra $570,000 for city safety schemes. It includes more CCTV camera operators, and three pilot safety coordination hubs at Queens Wharf, High Street and Day Street.

These will serve as bases for Community Patrols NZ, Māori, Pacific and community wardens, and ethnic patrol groups.

Employers and Manufacturers Association head of advocacy Alan McDonald said the funding boost was good news.

"I was talking to one of our members the other day who has a big retail outlet downtown, and their shoplifting rate and theft rate in that downtown store is five times what it is across the rest of their Auckland stores, so any measure like this is going to be... very welcome.

"Auckland city centre has suffered security problems and other issues for quite some time, so the additional funding to upgrade the security of that area [is] a good thing, not just for the night crowds but also for those cruise ships when they come in, as well."

Auckland Council's CityWatch team, which monitors hotspots for nuisance behaviour, will also be expanded.

On Saturday, Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said a police station downtown was necessary to crack down on crime.

"We believe it will help increase the speed of response, and, particularly important, is that it acts as a deterrent," she said.

"A lot of people talk about the impact of taking that downtown police station away, and we do believe it's an important step that's still needed here to really get to the place we want to be."

The station was closed in 2013.

Police said public safety in central Auckland remained a priority.

Auckland Central area commander Inspector Grant Tetzlaff said police continued to deploy from the Auckland City Police base on Federal Street to areas where demand was high, or where there was a high chance of preventing crime.

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