Group wants more K Rd crime re­ported

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Vic­tims of as­sault and other crimes on Karanga­hape Rd are be­ing urged to make sure they re­port them.

The K Rd Com­mu­nity Safety group has been ad­vo­cat­ing for se­cu­rity im­prove­ments but say un­der-re­port­ing of in­ci­dents is ham­per­ing their ef­forts.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately we live in a world where statis­tics drive ev­ery­thing.

‘‘When it comes to mak­ing a dif­fer­ence and get­ting change, you’ve got to have those num­bers,’’ spokes­woman Karen Ritchie says.

The group was formed in 2013 fol­low­ing a per­ceived in­crease in vi­o­lence against gay peo­ple on the pop­u­lar strip.

‘‘It’s been the place where the gay com­mu­nity has so­cialised for years so it is very im­por­tant that they’re able to do that in a safe en­vi­ron­ment,’’ Ritchie says.

‘‘Some are tar­geted be­cause they are part of the gay com­mu­nity, for oth­ers it’s just be­cause they’re out there.

‘‘We tend to find that most of this comes from peo­ple com­ing into the area and hit K Rd to party and then get ag­i­tated.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely al­co­hol in­duced,’’ Ritchie says.

Last month a DJ from Fam­ily Dow­nun­der bar was threat­ened and robbed while walk­ing home.

Ritchie is aware of some tourists who were as­saulted over the Christ­mas break but didn’t go to the po­lice.

Ritchie be­lieves there are a num­ber of rea­sons peo­ple might choose not to.

‘‘It might be that they’ve had a few drinks them­selves and they think they’ll just deal with it,’’ she says.

Ul­ti­mately the group would like to see a com­mu­nity pa­trol or am­bas­sador sys­tem op­er­at­ing on K Rd.

‘‘If we can’t be in­volved in that side of things, which we are strongly push­ing for, then we will be look­ing at push­ing to have a com­mu­nity po­lice sta­tion on the road,’’ Ritchie says.

Blan­ket clos­ing times in­tro­duced by changes to the Sale and Sup­ply of Liquor Act are not the an­swer, Ritchie says.

‘‘At what point in time do we make peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for their ac­tions?’’ she says.

‘‘If you’re do­ing this you need to be pun­ished, not the bars and the peo­ple hav­ing a good time.’’

Po­lice are tak­ing pre­ven­ta­tive ac­tion against crime in the area, Auck­land City po­lice In­spec­tor Joel Lamb says.

‘‘We are fo­cused on K Rd and our pa­trols at key times are based on a ro­bust in­tel­li­gence and de­ploy­ment model.

‘‘We also con­tinue to work with the var­i­ous busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions in an effort to fur­ther re­duce crime,’’ he says.

Karen Ritchie

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