Safe City Officers to begin patrolling streets
MEDIA RELEASE 13 October 2008
Safe City Officers to begin patrolling Christchurch’s central city streets
Safe City Officers will begin patrolling Christchurch’s central city streets from next Monday (20 October).
Up to 12 officers, working in pairs, will walk the central city streets from 9pm to 5.30am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights helping to raise residents and visitors perception of safety in the central city after dark.
Last year’s Quality of Life in 12 of New Zealand’s Cities report found Christchurch had the lowest percentage of residents who felt safe in their city centre after dark which Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says was unacceptable.
“Perceptions of safety take the longest to change but the Council is committed to making Christchurch the safest city in New Zealand and will look to introduce whatever is necessary to make our city safer for both residents and visitors.
“Statistics show in cities where Safe City Officer programmes operate the perception of safety after dark is 76 per cent higher.”
Mr Parker says with the Safe City Officers and 25 additional crime prevention cameras, which will be operational in the city before Christmas, Council is looking for a significant improvement in the public’s perception of safety in the city.
The Safe City Officers will focus on being highly visible in public areas already identified as high-risk for criminal offending and anti-social behaviour. Their prime roles will be to provide people with information and assistance; deter crime and anti-social behaviour through their visibility; collaborate and provide information to the police, Council and other agencies; and help identify hazards and other issues to help create a safe, vibrant night-time environment.
The Safe City Officer programme will be operated by a local security company during the first six months while Council scopes the long-term operating requirements of the programme.
Mr Parker says the safe city officers will be easily identified in their uniform and yellow and black high-visibility jacket.
“It is great to have this new safety initiative operating in the week the city will be hosting 500 delegates from 28 countries at the 17th International Safe Communities Conference.”