Asian needs targeted
29 July 2010
The Waitakere Asian Support Group has been around for two years but was officially launched this month.
It aims to deliver a co-ordinated community approach to crime prevention issues targeting the suburb's Asian community.
Founding member Wayne Davis says the group started with six and now has 11.
"We have brought in the likes of Neighbourhood Support, police and Safe Waitakere from the council," he says. "We've been behind the scenes getting things ready and slowly building it up."
He says the group started in response to an increasing amount of crime happening around the New Lynn bus and train centres.
Many of the victims were Asian.
"We had car break-ins, burglaries, bagsnatching and abuse," Mr Davis says.
"The New Lynn ward has a 61 percent Asian population and a lot of them don't speak good English or none at all. If they get robbed or burgled, they tend to lock themselves in their houses and don't come out. Sometimes they go to the police and sometimes they don't."
He says they will write complaints to Chinese newspapers about the problems. The launch has seen a new logo and t-shirts designed to build trust in the community.
Mr Davis says the group is already starting to have a positive effect.
"We had a meeting last month at Ambrico Place where over 100 people came out and 34 signed up for neighbourhood support.
"We are now a physical presence in New Lynn which is the main thing."
New Lynn police sergeant Grant Watson says the group is a positive step forward.
"Working with the Asian Support Group is about breaking down barriers between the police and the Asian community," he says. "Obviously there's a language barrier. Sometimes there is a lack of understanding about what to do if you are a victim of a crime, or how to protect yourself from becoming a victim."
He says everyone is invited to a sausage sizzle on July 3 at the Ambrico Place playground between noon and 2.30pm to get more information, ask questions, get involved, and feel confident about what the new group will be doing.
"Police want to be more accessible to the community and will have people who can translate if there are any questions," Mr Watson says. "We've had some of the brochures translated into Mandarin and want to tell the Asian community that there is somewhere they can go to."