Increasing domestic violence, youth disorder and
alcohol-related crime during the Christmas holiday period are
being tackled by Dunedin police.
A summer policing plan has been implemented to target the
many issues associated with Christmas and the holidays,
including financial stress, family tension, bored school-aged
children, greater alcohol consumption and long-distance road
Inspector Mel Aitken, the area prevention manager for
Dunedin, Clutha and Waitaki, was leading the charge from the
central Dunedin police station.
She said all Dunedin police staff were engaged in the plan,
as well as many community groups and agencies.
''It's a whole-of-policing approach and it's all about
prevention,'' she said.
More staff would be deployed ''on the beat'', there would be
increased road checkpoints, and police officers would
directly contact victims or potential victims of family
violence to ensure issues were addressed.
Domestic violence spiked in the lead-up to Christmas Day, and
there was an increase in disorder due to more people drinking
larger quantities of alcohol, Insp Aitken said.
People also took more risks with drink-driving as a result of
end-of-year and Christmas work functions, and more people
travelled to and from holiday destinations, where they often
Insp Aitken said school-aged children typically became bored
during holidays and involved themselves in disorder such as
vandalism, graffiti and shoplifting.
Large groups of young people in the central city sometimes
prompted police attention, she said.
Empty school grounds also became targets for wilful damage,
burglary and theft.
As part of the summer policing plan, officers visited schools
to talk about preventing crime by securing property.
''We remind them not to leave laptops in view of windows and
things like that,'' Insp Aitken said.
As more people used outdoor recreation areas, thieves
targeted public car parks, and vehicle owners were urged to
keep valuables hidden and secure, she said.
The summer policing plan was officially implemented earlier
this month and would run until the end of January. Partner
agencies include community patrols, the Dunedin City Council,
city safety officers, Neighbourhood Support and Campus Watch.
''It's a Dunedin initiative. We've had it going for a couple
of years but I think each year we get better at how we frame
it,'' Insp Aitken said.
''It's really just about more co-ordination and identifying
issues so we can take a proactive approach - it's all about
New Zealand Police national prevention manager Bruce Bird
said there had been an average of 436 criminal apprehensions
throughout New Zealand on December 25, over the last five
A ''typical day'' saw an average of 596 criminal
apprehensions, Mr Bird said.
Assault and disorderly behaviour were the most common
criminal offences committed on Christmas Day.