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Crime: don’t tar everyone with the same brush

Crime figures: don’t tar everyone with the same brush

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says he is not surprised at the rise in the crime rate for Counties Manukau over the past year. “We have been seeing clear signs for some time of increasing crime related to street gangs, drugs and alcohol abuse.

“But crime has been increasing in many parts of the country where there are large populations of young people, not just in Manukau. A certain number of young people will always get into trouble or fall into crime through heavy drinking, drug use, risk taking behaviour, defiance towards authority figures and a casual attitude to violence.

“But let’s not tar everyone with the same brush. A single tagger can leave his tag on hundreds of fences. A single burglar can commit dozens of crimes, as can a “P” addict. But in each case what may seem like a crime wave is the work of one person.

“Most young people in Manukau are not into that lifestyle. They are responsible and a credit to their parents. The average teenager might veer off the path once in a while due to their age but overall they’re heading towards adulthood with good values and a sense of right and wrong.

“The gang situation is extremely serious but all teenagers are not connected to street gangs. Counties Manukau Police estimate that less than 500 youth are involved out of a total youth population of 140,000 in the city. The gangs are also concentrated in small pockets of the city, predominantly Otara and Mangere.

“The rise in crime is serious and unacceptable. However the situation is not going to be turned around overnight and it’s important to put it in perspective and maintain a positive outlook about our community, and the many positive things we have, such as our diversity and cultural vibrancy.

“There are numerous community-wide education programmes and intervention strategies in place which I believe will succeed in reducing crime over the long term. But the parents of unruly young people must be part of the solution. They need to be held to account for what their offspring are doing.”


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