Media Release - Accessible Whangarei - 7th August 2013

Accessible, Safe and Vibrant Whangarei

Whangarei residents don’t feel safe in CBD at night.  This is the response after Mayoral Candidate Vince Cocurullo posed the question “Do you feel safe going into the CBD at Night in Whangarei?” last month on Facebook.

The discussion that followed highlighted other interesting facts; that women in particular don’t feel safe, and when the community didn’t like something they didn’t know who to contact.

For the past 4 years Vince Cocurullo has been part of a joint partner’s team called CitySafe, which includes the Whangarei District Council, the New Zealand Police and Northland Chamber of Commerce.  CitySafe includes a 24-hour call Centre with a freephone number 0800 258 258, and a series of CCTV cameras that are monitored by the city’s wonderful volunteers at the Whangarei Police Station.

“As technology gets better, so does the reporting and monitoring skills of the team.” Says Mr Cocurullo “but we need people to know and use this number, and report issues that people are having around our community.”

He encourages all residents to save the number on their cellphones to make it easy to alert the CitySafe team to issues as they see them.

Our business community needs people in our city, to socialise, to enjoy themselves and feel safe.  The cameras have helped identify areas that need better lighting and signage, but they only go so far, and we want our community to speak up.  “From the pothole along the road or the new bit of graffiti on a building, call it in.”

Feeling safe does not just apply to Whangarei at night. Parking zones and shopping areas need to feel safe for people coming to and from town, work, sports and leisure activities and business or social events. In order to bring business into our towns, shoppers need to know they can safely leave their cars, withdraw money from ATMS and walk about without fear.

The “broken windows theory” of policing, which centres on the concept that when a community tolerates minor examples of disorder and petty crime, such as broken windows, graffiti, disorderly behaviour, or drinking in public, people are more likely to commit more serious crimes.

The more we report the little things to the council and the police, the better our surroundings will look and the less ‘normal’ petty acts of crime become. The more people there are about, the safer we all feel, so staying away just exacerbates the problems of deserted streets and carparks after dark. I ask you; what are our broken windows, and what do you want your council to do about them, to help make our Whangarei a safer, more accessible and vibrantplace to live.

Do you want change?  Join us in putting Whangarei First.

Vince Cocurullo

Mayoral Candidate for Whangarei 2013