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Crime down four percent in Square

Manawatu Standard, 19 Jan 2010

Violence in The Square in Palmerston North, despite a stabbing at the weekend, has dropped by 4 per cent since 2007.

With CCTV cameras on the main streets, the use of community patrols, Safe City Host security and the re-establishment of Maori wardens, police believe the central city has become a safer place.

Senior Sergeant Sue O'Neil said there had been a steady decline in the number of violent offences in The Square for the last four years.

"The new environmental design has been hugely beneficial for Palmerston North. There is much better lighting through there now. It was very dark in some areas of The Square before, but the lighting has been really helpful," Mrs O'Neil said.

There were 110 offences in 2009, down from 125 in 2008 and 150 in 2007. Mrs O'Neil said there had only been 15 violent incidents reported so far this year.

"Over the Christmas period and through into January when people are out in a party-type atmosphere, that figure is pretty normal.

"We're hoping the decrease in offences will continue in 2010."

The community has played a major part in this decrease, she said.

"Neighbourhood support and proactive policing looking into community issues and working with the community is helping to reduce those crimes."

Mrs O'Neil said people still needed to be wary of areas like The Square and not enter them unaccompanied.

"The stabbing this weekend has highlighted the need for people to stay in lit areas, get taxis home, and take safety measures."

Police are still asking for any information from the public about the stabbing, which happened early Sunday morning.

Richard Sargent, 22, of Pahiatua, was found by a member of the public at 5.30am, and police believe the attack happened between 3.23am and 5.30am.

People with information should call the Palmerston North Police on (06) 351 3600 or the crimeline on 0800 808 585.

Crime in Palmerston North has also dropped by 4 per cent since this time last year, police said. However, this figure has been taken from a weekly police statistics report and is considered only an estimate.

Have your say

Do you think The Square is safer than it used to be?

Write to the editor at PO Box 3, Palmerston North, or (include names and addresses), text to 027 498 1242, or post your comments below.


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