Local police chief Les Patterson gave a North Shore crime summary and some more information on the Guy Fawkes incidents at the local board meeting tonight.
The North Shore remains the safest region in Auckland and indeed in New Zealand, with 474 crimes committed per 10,000 people. This has dropped markedly from 1990 levels of 1050/10,000. The North Shore’s nearest competitor was the Rodney region, at 575/10,000.
Patterson also gave some insight into the methods police on the peninsula are using to tackle the recent pockets of criminal activity. The police now use full time analysts who monitor criminal activity in real time, in an attempt to ensure resources are allocated as effectively as possible. “Nobody drives aimlessly around in a patrol car anymore” Patterson said.
In concert with other ongoing police operations, the analysts were able to bring police resource to bear on the crime ripple that swept through the lower peninsula, which included a number of local businesses being burgled. After three weeks of activity monitoring, several arrests were made and Patterson now believes the primary perpetrators have been apprehended.
This approach highlights the importance of the community a) reporting any suspicious activity; b) doing so immediately.
Patterson also provided further information regarding the trouble spots of Mairangi Bay and Cheltenham during Guy Fawkes.
Patterson claimed Mairangi Bay residents were complaining to police they had been heavy handed in dealing with local youths, Cheltenham residents had complained the police had not been forceful enough in controlling some of the vandalism that occurred as the crowd was dispersed.
This was a result of the way in which the “dispersal technique” – the police method for diffusing potential riot situations – was implemented in the two areas.
In Mairangi Bay, police acted early to diffuse a situation they believed was about to spiral out of control. This was seen by some parents who witnessed the dispersal as heavy-handed.
A similar approach was adopted in Devonport, but Patterson commented it seemed to be a “consistently unique situation” in Devonport, whereby those being dispersed indulged in vandalism as they were being forced from the area. Consequently, police found themselves being criticised for delaying their intervention until the trouble had started, which he claimed had not been the case.
Patterson stated he was keen to work with the local board and the community to ensure this situation did not repeat itself next year.