Police working to keep Christmas merry

Christmas Crime Prevention team members (from left) Constable Daniel Napier, Constable Mel Duff, Acting Sergeant Matt Davidson, Senior Constable Richie Ellwood and Constable Kat Radford. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Christmas Crime Prevention team members (from left) Constable Daniel Napier, Constable Mel Duff, Acting Sergeant Matt Davidson, Senior Constable Richie Ellwood and Constable Kat Radford. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Historically, Christmas is a busy time of year for police, but a police initiative aims to make significant cuts to crime over the festive season.

Acting Sergeant Mat Davidson, of Dunedin, said a Christmas crime prevention team of seven police officers had been established, in a bid to reduce crime statistics in the Otago Coastal region (Oamaru to Balclutha).

He said it had previously been implemented successfully in areas around Dunedin.

Officers would make high-visibility patrols around Dunedin, particularly the CBD, where they would talk to businesses about how they could prevent crime such as shoplifting and disorder in their area.

''Around other areas of Dunedin where there has historically been high numbers of burglaries with people being away on holiday, we're doing a lot of high-visibility patrols - particularly the north end student area and the greater South Dunedin area.''

He said police were encouraging residents to keep houses and vehicles locked, whether they were at home or not, and to keep an eye on neighbours' properties.

They also suggested residents keep Christmas presents well hidden.

''It's not a great idea to have them in view of the front window when people are walking past.''

The initiative incorporates the police and NZTA holiday road safety campaign: ''We Want You Here for Christmas''.

Officers are urging everybody to wear seat belts, keep speed down, drive to the road conditions, put phones away, and drive sober and alert.

Sgt Davidson said police would also be operating road checkpoints and breath-testing drivers, right across the region.

Police also hoped to reduce alcohol harm, particularly at Christmas parties and

there would be a strong police presence at Tradies Day on December 22.

''What we're doing out in the community, and the public perception of what we're doing, counts for a lot.

''We want them to know that we're out there trying to keep them safe.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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