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Pansy Speak: Whistleblowers

Pansy Speak: Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers

A few eyebrows were raised at the commotion going on first thing in the morning at the To Fu Shop in Torrens Rd, Botany, last Friday. A crowd had gathered at the shop and several police cars were parked out front. Passers-by wanted to know if there had been another burglary or bag-snatching, but fortunately that wasn’t the case, it was for a more positive reason – the launch of an anti-crime pack for Torrens Rd businesses.

This pro-active initiative is the result of collaboration between businesses, the police, Manukau City Council, the Asian Council on Reducing Crime, the Greenmount-East Tamaki Business Association and a volunteer community patrol.

These groups have been working hard to stem the astounding number of burglaries and bag-snatching incidents around Torrens Rd. In January this year, I called a meeting with these groups to put a stop to the crime wave.

In broad daylight, thieves have ripped open car doors and stolen bags from unsuspecting people who had just got into and started their car. They have run into restaurants and stolen bags sitting on chairs beside the owner. These people have even snuck into shops and stolen things while the shopkeepers were busy around the shop or helping customers.

The offenders are long gone when the shopkeepers calls police and not much can be done unless someone is able to get a description of the person.

From the meetings, both police and shopkeepers have been finding ways to make Torrens Rd a much better place for shoppers and shopkeepers. This includes a prevention strategy with three aims: awareness and education for businesses and the public to minimise their chance of being victims, a more visible police presence, and tougher sentences for offenders.

At the group’s second meeting in March, Constable Gibson, showed the security package that the police had put together for businesses (see below). The Asian Council on Reducing Crime gave an update on the translation of security information into various Asian languages. The Greenmount-East Tamaki Business Association put their hand up to work with the other groups to get more security information out. Manukau City Council talked about the benefits of having a CCTV system set up.

With this wide-ranging approach it’s only a matter of time before this crime wave is stopped in its tracks and this is where the whistles come in! Rosa Chow from the Asian Council on Reducing Crime made the suggestion about using whistles to deter and apprehend offenders. This scheme was very successful in Hong Kong and the group immediately decided to do a similar thing in Torrens Rd.

Peter Low from the E-Pack supermarket sponsored the launch of the whistles which are for sale in his supermarket. Not content to stop there, he is also setting up a protest against the lack of tough penalties for offenders. The police are making appointments with each business to talk about the anti-crime packs, and the voluntary community patrol has increased its number of rounds and they need more people to join in.

From a negative experience, a positive one has been gained – people from different walks of life have come together to reduce crime and make their area safer. The police want to use this initiative in other areas like the Somerville shops, and take it even further afield.

Though hard work can help the grass-roots of this campaign, the third part needs a national push. The National Party is committed to restoring safe communities in Botany and throughout New Zealand. I have received many emails and spoken to a lot of locals who are concerned about violence and crime, and I will continue to address these issues and implement solutions with anyone who wants to make their community safer.

On the 29th of March, Manukau police are holding their second Safety Expo at the Buddha’s Light temple on the corner of Chapel and Stancombe Rds. Along with the boys and girls in blue, I will be there to discuss concerns and find ways forward. Anything is possible with community spirit and help from agencies like the police. Let’s make things happen!

ENDS

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