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Drink driving and speeding a serious rural problem

Rural Women New Zealand

Media release

For immediate release

29 May 2013

Rural Women NZ says drink driving and speeding a serious rural problem

Drink driving and speeding are key areas of concern for rural people according to an online rural crime survey conducted by Rural Women New Zealand.

“Over 80 percent of people told us that speeding was a problem in their community and 75 percent said drink driving was also a problem,” says Liz Evans, Rural Women New Zealand’s national president.

While urban people are getting the message not to drink and drive, in rural communities there are persistent offenders who are still ignoring the law, with serious consequences.

At the Rural Women New Zealand national conference in Christchurch last weekend, John Perham of Crimestoppers and Asst Commissioner: Road Policing, Dave Cliff ONZM, said rural people need to move from being by-standers in the crime prevention process to being active participants in helping police in every way we can to make our rural communities safe.

Often rural people will know who is regularly driving drunk, but there is a reluctance to dob in friends and neighbours.

John Perham said people can give information about offenders to Crimestoppers anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111. Police can then act on the tip off and ensure these people are apprehended and prosecuted.

John Perham said in most years 80 people are killed drink driving. But the numbers of people whose lives are affected is much higher: For every 100 drink drivers killed, 50 passengers and 20 others are killed, and 1,000 are seriously injured.

Seventy percent of the Rural Women NZ rural crime survey respondents also said that theft of fuel was a problem, while just over half saw theft of vehicles or of items from a vehicle as an issue.

Asst Commissioner Dave Cliff said in terms of machinery theft, such as quad bikes, it raises the question 'where were the keys?' "Let's engage in a little bit of self-protection."

Dave Cliff also told Rural Women NZ members that police now see family violence as ‘incredibly important and the most important area when it comes to crime prevention’ because when children are exposed to violence in the home on an ongoing basis, boys in particular become less likely to be empathetic and more likely to become offenders themselves. Whereas when girls are exposed to ongoing domestic violence they come to believe it is perfectly normal, and later, that having a partner who is violent is normal.

Stock theft is also a problem, but police will only be able to get to the bottom of it when they start to get evidential material. Dave Cliff urged people in rural communities to report stock theft.

“John Perham, Crimestoppers chairman, assured us that rural people should have no worries about confidentiality when using the 0800 number. The call centre is in the UK so even those of us who think we have distinctive and identifiable voices will remain anonymous," Liz Evans said.


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