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Rotorua generally a safe place to live

Rotorua generally a safe place to live: safety perceptions survey

Most residents think Rotorua is generally a safe place to live according to a recently completed perceptions of safety survey commissioned by Rotorua District Council. Survey results show 82 per cent of people surveyed said Rotorua was ‘definitely’ or ‘mostly’ safe while 16 per cent said ‘not really’ or ‘definitely not.’

The survey shows most people also feel safe in the inner city during the daytime but less so at night.

Eighty four per cent of respondents said they felt ‘safe or very safe’ in the CBD during the day but at night time the figure drops to 26 per cent. The presence of other people and police officers were common reasons for feeling safe during the day, while the lesser perceptions of safety at night were frequently explained by ‘people hanging around,’ ‘bar areas,’ and ‘young kids.’

Inner City Revitalisation Strategy portfolio lead, Councillor Karen Hunt, said while the daytime safety levels were pleasingly high they were 3.8 per cent down on last year.

“It’s likely that this is at least in part a reaction to people hanging around shops that were selling legal high substances, a problem we were experiencing at the time the survey was undertaken. That issue is firmly behind us now.

“However I’m encouraged that 84 per cent of those surveyed are aware of the Community Policing Centre in the inner city, 79 per cent know about the liquor ban, 74 per cent about CCTV cameras, and 52 per cent are aware of the council’s City Safe Guardians. Those are all initiatives helping to keep people safe and adding to our key Rotorua 2030 goal to revitalise the inner city area.

Ms Hunt said most of the figures from the survey were “in the same ball park” as last year, and showed residents feel Rotorua is generally a safe place.

People were also asked if they worry about parking their cars in the CBD with thirteen per cent concerned during daytime, down two per cent from last year’s survey. At night 19 per cent worry about their parked cars, three per cent less than last year’s survey. While both figures represent improvement, half the respondents said there were places that were sometimes unsafe to park such as Kuirau Park and the Lakefront.

In local neighbourhoods 88 per cent of people generally feel safe during daytime and 74 per cent at night. In residents’ own homes the figures are even higher with 95 per cent feeling safe during the day and 88 per cent at night.

The survey asked residents if they felt they could trust people. Forty five per cent said ‘yes’ while 41 per cent said ‘you can’t be too careful dealing with people.’

When asked what could be done to make Rotorua a safer place, policing, better parenting, more security, and building and street improvements were most often mentioned.

The top priorities identified for Rotorua over the next few years were better traffic controls, road safety, reducing child and family violence, better parenting and more police presence.

Mayor Steve Chadwick said the survey provided a valuable tool for monitoring how well Rotorua was doing in keeping residents safe.

“Public safety is a shared objective of the council and community and its importance is reflected in our Rotorua 2030 vision and goals.

“Our council remains committed to working in partnership with other organisations and agencies to help build a safe community.”

Council initiatives in support of crime prevention and community safety include its Crime Prevention Plan, City Safe Guardians, a protocol with Rotorua Police and collaborative partnerships with organisations such as the Inner City Focus Group, Treasure Rotorua and Safe Communities Group.

The 2014 Rotorua District Perceptions of Safety Survey was undertaken by Rotorua research company APR Consultants, and involved 499 residents surveyed by telephone and online. The survey results will be available on the council website, rdc.govt.nz, by Friday [5 September].

[ENDS]

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