Friday, March 19, 2010

Huntly Is A "Dead Beat Town," Crime "Rampant"

 After we wrote our post last week about the rise in violent crimes and robberies in Huntly, a fairly typical Kiwi town in the Waikato, the Waikato Times has today put together an article which reveals that crime is ruining local shops.

Some shops have been burgled close to 40 times in the last few years and the cost of crime is now so high that some insurance companies have said they can no longer afford to insure businesses there.

Retailers have been quite blunt in saying what they think of the town, calling it "dead beat" and saying every shop has been touched by "rampant" crime.

And what's causing this crime epidemic - the breakdown of social adhesion, unemployment, lack of facilities, boredom, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, lax/absent policing? No, according to Huntly Community Board chairman Frank McInally it's the victims' fault for not paying $1,000 each to install security cameras. He said:
"retailers were "their own worst enemies..."They won't put their hand in their own pockets to contribute towards the cameras."
Does he honestly believe that cameras will reduce crime in the town? Cameras in banks, gas stations and dairies throughout New Zealand haven't deterred armed thieves one iota. Big Brother is obviously sleeping on the job, or out to lunch.

Some businesses do see some merit in having the cameras though, even though they don't seem to work:
 "The Essex Arms manager Gale Mackay supported security cameras, but said it wouldn't stop offending completely.

The tavern was broken into twice recently despite their premises being equipped with cameras and an alarm.

What is the solution to Huntly's crime? "
 The solution for Huntly will be the same as for the rest of New Zealand.

And, if you're wondering what Huntley looks like take a look at this YouTube video:


The day this post was published the town of Nelson was hit by a crime spree. Vandals ran rampant down Main Street smashing shop windows, causing thousands of dollars of damage, some of which was uninsured.  It's very similar to a 4am rampage by a gang of teens in Hastings in January.

In that attack 11 businesses were targeted and the damage is thought to have run in to thousands of dollars. Police arrested four youths, including two 15 year old girls,  a boy of 15 and another age 14. Does Hastings have security cameras?

Police say they are going to look at security camera footage of the Nelson event, which isn't much consolation for the shop owners who are left to foot the bill for the damage, nor does it stop the same thing happening again. This is an excellent example of how security cameras do not protect communities.

 Update 19 March
A day later a home crime fighter in Huntly's neighbouring city of Hamilton was praised by city councillor, Dave Macpherson, for defending himself during a home invasion. Mr Macpherson said that communities were taking the law into their own hands because of police inaction. Police advised victims of crime to take the details of offenders and let them respond. On his blog Mr Macpherson said in an "ideal world" that would be fine.
"But lack of police resources, and an all-too-frequent disorganised police response, often force the community to take the law into it's own hands.

"If you can't rely on the police to stop criminals, then many Kiwis will rightly choose to take on the crims rather than letting them get away with the proceeds of their crimes."

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