No canopies: brighter and less crime

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Crime in Porirua’s city cen­tre has dropped by a quar­ter since the canopies came down in 2015.

As part of a re­port to Porirua City coun­cil­lors on Fe­bru­ary 2, out­lin­ing the sec­ond phase of the $24 mil­lion CBD re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion project, it was noted that feedback from the pub­lic about the work had been pos­i­tive and po­lice had re­ported a drop in crime.

Porirua Po­lice crime pre­ven- tion team su­per­vi­sor Sergeant Jonathan Westrupp said the dif­fer­ence had been marked since the canopies were re­moved in Jan­uary 2015.

‘‘The mood un­der where the canopies used to be is good, from shop­pers and re­tail­ers.

‘‘The crime stats were never over the top about fights and as­saults - we know it’s a safe place to come to - but the neg­a­tive per­cep­tion was still there. That’s largely go­ing now and peo­ple are telling us they feel safe.

‘‘The city coun­cil’s work and things like the night mar­ket are re­ally con­tribut­ing to that.’’

He said firm statis­tics were be­ing com­piled, but re­ported as­saults in the city cen­tre were down from 3.5 a month to 2.5, and of­fences com­mit­ted by peo­ple aged 13 to 19 had halved.

Re­mov­ing the toi­let block from Lyt­tel­ton Ave had also con­trib­uted to the per­cep­tion of safety, Westrupp said.

Peo­ple buy­ing al­co­hol for mi­nors in the CBD was some­thing they would con­tinue to con­cen­trate re­sources on, he said.

Emma Greig from Black Rose Florist said the city cen­tre was ‘‘nicer and brighter’’ with­out the canopies.

‘‘Per­son­ally, I didn’t like to walk around this area be­fore [2015], be­cause it was dark and there were a lot of kids al­ways hang­ing around.’’

Coun­cil gen­eral man­ager city growth and part­ner­ships Bryan Patch­ett said the white canopy poles would re­main tem­po­rar­ily, as they had CCTV cam­eras and lights mounted on them.

‘‘New light poles and cam­eras will be in­stalled later this year and at that time the con­crete poles will be re­moved,’’ he said.

Patch­ett said feedback from the pub­lic had told them the new open spa­ces and events be­ing held in the CBD were bring­ing an en­er­getic feel to Cob­ham Court.

PHOTO: KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Vil­iamu Ti­u­malu, 2, goes for a ride.

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