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Govt Should Get Some Help

Govt Should Get Some Help

Thursday 5 Dec 2002 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Crime & Justice -- Zero Tolerance for Crime

Police Minister George Hawkins should follow the lead of the Auckland City Council and begin a nation-wide zero tolerance to graffiti campaign, ACT New Zealand Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Graffiti, or tagging, is a widespread problem throughout the country, costing councils, ratepayers and taxpayers huge amounts of time and money each year. Not only that, but it is a well-known fact that getting rid of graffiti helps to reduce crime," Dr Newman said.

"The case taken by the Auckland City Council against a tagger, who had caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage, has resulted in a fine of $5165 fine and 120 hours of community work. This sentence sends a clear signal to other taggers that crime does not pay.

"That is the basis of a zero tolerance approach to crime. By cracking down on petty crime, offenders are less likely to graduate to more serious crime.

"This case, where the tagger was unemployed, also highlights the link between welfare and crime. People who commit crimes serious enough to receive a prison sentence are six times more likely to have come from the welfare system of 400,000 people than from the workforce of 1.8 million people.

"That is one reason for ACT's commitment to welfare reform: people on welfare who are able to work, should be required to participate in organised work days. By stopping paying people who are fit and able to do nothing, we would significantly reduce crime.

"If the Minister decides to adopt a zero tolerance approach not only to graffiti but to all crime, the Government would finally begin to fulfil its fundamental duty to protect citizens and their property from crime," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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