Keeping our community safe

Columns
Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Last month I went on an evening ride along with Alan and Paul from the City to Sumner Community Patrol. I took this opportunity to chat with them about recent media and Facebook reports of a spike in graffiti, vandalism and car thefts in parts of the Port Hills electorate.

Reports like this are always unsettling; like everyone, I want my neighbourhood to be a place where my family and friends feel safe.  That’s why preventing and reducing crime is a priority for both the Government and me personally.  

Part of the approach to building safer communities is prevention first. Since 2009 this Government has boosted the annual police budget by almost $200 million. That’s given us 600 more police, resulting in a record 8,907 sworn officers.  We’ve also put more police on our streets and deployed them more strategically so that they’re in areas and at times when police know there’s a greater risk of crime.

The Government has also given police more time and more resources.  By introducing smartphones and tablets for police officers, we’ve saved police 30 minutes a shift in administration duties. That’s meant more time on the ground, which is equivalent to having about 345 extra frontline cops.

Our local police are doing a great job, but there’s always plenty we can do at the flaxroots to look after each other. Groups like Neighbourhood Support and our Community Patrols are a great example of locals doing just this. Between policing and community efforts, I know we can keep our Port Hills community safe.