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Successful first year under Safer Strategy

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MEDIA RELEASE December 2006

Successful first year under Safer Christchurch Strategy

Christchurch's winning bid to host the 17th International Safe Communities Conference in 2008 capped off a successful first year's operation under the Safer Christchurch Strategy.

Christchurch will host the conference in the year it will seek designation as a World Health Organisation Safe Community, says Mayor Garry Moore, who chairs the Safer Christchurch Interagency Group which oversees the Strategy.

"Having secured the rights to host this global conference, in partnership with the Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand, it will provide the extra impetus for the city to work even harder to achieve its goals under the Strategy to become New Zealand's safest city."

The Strategy, launched late last year, provides the framework for the Safer Christchurch Interagency Group to work towards achieving its four main goals: * Reduce the incidence of injury in our community. * Enhance safety on our roads. * Safety from crime through prevention and supportive actions. * Support safety and injury prevention through collaboration and coordination.

Mr Moore says in just 12 months the Group had made really good progress in a number of areas and had reason to celebrate.

"One of the major achievements was the launch of the Alcohol Accord, through the Community Violence Reduction Project, in an attempt to reduce alcohol-related violence and disorder in the central city.

"This is a partnership programme between licensed premises, the Council, Police and Canterbury District Health Board, designed to create a safe and prosperous night-time economy in Christchurch's Central Business District."

He says the first initiative under the Accord is the introduction of a one-way door from 4am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Under this policy, no new patrons are admitted to licensed premises or re-admitted after this time.

"After only two months, we are already seeing some encouraging results with less crime being reported in the inner city. It is a positive trend I hope continues as we look at other initiatives."

An Injury Prevention Coordinating Committee was formed during the year and work began on developing an Injury Prevention Action Plan. This work began with collating injury statistics for Christchurch to identify key focus areas.

Under road safety, the Group began research into international students, looking at their issues with driving in Christchurch and their knowledge gaps.

"Westburn School launched a community-based initiative to enhance road safety within its neighbourhood and a mock crash was used to demonstrate speed and stopping distances outside primary schools."

Mr Moore says a Crime Prevention Coordinating Committee was formed to oversee the crime prevention actions within the strategy. An Igniting Change Forum was held to discuss changes in attitudes and behaviours towards family violence in Christchurch, and funding was received from the Crime Prevention Unit to undertake a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design site assessment of the Bus Exchange in the central city.

"The Safer Christchurch Interagency Group, in conjunction with the coordinating committees, has made considerable progress in building networks in the first year and working towards achieving the objectives under the Strategy.

"It has been rewarding to work with the Group because of its strong commitment to the Strategy's goals and their genuine desire to work collaboratively to form partnerships that target injury prevention and safety.

"There is much work yet to be done as the city works towards World Health Organisation Safe Community accreditation and making Christchurch the safest city in which to live, work, play and learn," Mr Moore says.

Ends

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