8 March 2013
Results from a Rotorua District Council (RDC) survey reveal that retailers believe the council’s City Safe Guardians play an important role in helping keep the central city safe - especially when it comes to keeping “riff raff” in line, as one retailer put it.
The council surveyed CBD retail and business outlets in January to gather their views on the City Safe Guardians initiative over the course of 2012.
Mayor Kevin Winters said that from 300 survey forms sent out, 126 (42%) businesses had taken the opportunity to provide the council with feedback. He said the responses had been very supportive of City Safe Guardians.
“These survey results indicate the vast majority - 89% of respondents - believe the council’s City Safe Guardian team has had a positive impact on public perceptions of safety in the central city area, which is a very pleasing endorsement of this council programme.
In this year’s survey retailers and businesses thought the Guardians’ most important function was crime prevention, while last year when surveyed they said the Guardians’ key role was to provide a physical presence.”
More than 90% (114 survey respondents) believed the programme should continue beyond June 2013, while just 1.5 % (2) did not support continuation, and 1.5% (2) were unsure.
Mr Winters said an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that they had received visits and information from City Safe Guardian team members, and feedback from comments made in the survey were very positive.
“Their comments endorsed the City Safe Guardian programme as being instrumental in creating a safer environment in the CBD.
“One retailer said ‘they keep the 'riff raff' in line and get trouble makers to move along so they’re not putting shoppers off coming into town.’ And that seems to be the general consensus among most of our CBD businesses.
“Retailers have told us that our City Safe Guardians have assisted them with shoplifters and theft reduction, have dealt with unpleasant behaviour and fighting, given help and assistance to many tourists, and generally have helped to alleviate retailers’ feelings of anxiety when working alone.
“We’re really pleased that this council initiative has had such a positive response from local retailers and we have heard loud and clear their emphatic request for the City Safe Guardian programme to continue in the future,” Mr Winters said.
"Ultimately that’s a decision for all elected members to make as part of the current process for developing our annual plan and budgets for the next financial year.”
Some individual comments about City Safe Guardians from the survey
- They make everyone feel safe they are always polite and friendly makes visitors want to stay.
- A safer CBD for businesses and public.
- I can open my shop until late afternoon or early evening without anxiety. Before their operation, I was very nervous when I was in the shop alone.
- With the continual presence of the guardians there is less menacing feeling around the area.
- I have witnessed a lot of tourists and visitors getting directions and information from the guardians.
- They have helped deal with unpleasant behaviour and shoplifting.
- They have been friendly and helpful to tourists, they are a friendly face popping in your shop and keeping you informed of things that are happening in the city area.
- I believe the inner city is a friendly, safer place since the guardians have been around. It is just the start of attracting locals to come back into the inner city.
- Tourists would have been exposed to more swearing, drunkenness and youth loitering a year ago.
In general I think the area is safer and more pleasant.
- Makes me feel more secure and safe as I would work on my own a lot. They call in every now and then.
- Patrols have made patrons feel safer and happier to walk around our city.
- Stopping crime and helping people.
- Have noticed less theft.
- They helped us with a shop lifting incident in December.
- I notice that the number of bad youth and suspicious people has decreased a lot.
- Stopping youth fights and helping visitors to the city.
- Less crime in the CBD.
- Less theft, Shop feeling safe.
- The number of thieves has definitely dropped.
- Regular visits to our store and always on call.
- CSG are very good at follow-ups and info about CBD and activities on. Police follow-up and liaison.
- They check up on us quiet regularly also help keep us informed on what's happening in our own city.
- We find the City Safe Guardian team is always there during the peak times eliminating the potential trouble that can occur in that area.
- They keep the 'riff raff' in line and get trouble makers to move along so they aren't putting shoppers off coming into town.