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Residents have been complaining about an increase in crimes such as vehicle damage and theft during hours where there is no police presence.
The Lyttelton police station is only staffed between 8am-5pm – after that, any calls are taken by police in Christchurch.
In response, private security company Tactical Response Team has been patrolling the streets since August 20, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 9pm until 3am.
However, police statistics show that crime has not significantly increased in Lyttelton.
A trend shows levels of reported crime in Lyttelton have remained relatively stable over the past two years.
There has been no consistent increase this year, with crime numbers fluctuating from month to month.
The highest number of crimes reported this year was 53 in February, the lowest number reported was 28 in April – the average number of crimes for the year so far is 41.
Lyttelton Police Sergeant Franco Lovrich said incidents may be going unreported.
“If it’s not life-threatening, call 105 and report incidents so we can monitor what is going on and target it as appropriate,” he said.
Residents have been taking to Facebook pages such as Lyttelton – Ain’t No Place I’d Rather Be – to post about crimes which are mainly happening outside of police presence hours.
However, fewer people have been posting about crime since the patrols started.
A community meeting has been set up to address residents’ concerns. It will be held on Sunday, 5pm, in the Lyttelton Arts Factory, 1 Sumner Rd.
The meeting will be attended by Sergeant Lovrich, residents and community board members.
Tactical Response Team operations director Shannon Mudge is a Lyttelton resident and wanted to put the concerns of fellow residents at ease with help from his colleague Shane Fuller.
Said Mr Mudge: “We’re not the police, we’re just there to deter any crime. If we can stop it before it happens that’s a win for us.”
“If we can manage the situation we will deal with it, but if it’s out of our control we will log it and report it to the police,” Mr Mudge said.
“If there is one person breaking in and we see it, by all means, we will try and stop it.”
Mr Mudge said the patrols have been quiet and they have not had to deal with anything problematic so far.
Superintendent Lane Todd said police would be interested in having “further conversations with them in relation to how they are going to operate.”
He said he would rather them be affiliated with one of the community patrols as they have a good working relationship with police.
Community patrollers are volunteers working closely with police as extra “eyes and ears” to help build safer communities.
Tactical Response Team is licensed and all of its security guards are vetted, selected, trained and equipped to attend incidents.
They patrol in a vehicle and on foot in areas which are targeted by offenders, dressed in black uniforms showing the TRT logo.
Mr Mudge and Mr Fuller are also offering “welfare checks.”
“If someone is away for the weekend and they want us to look around their property to make sure the doors and windows are okay or if someone is sick and they need a checking up on, we will do that as well,” Mr Mudge said.
Said Lyttelton Community Association Ken Maynard: “It would be better if the police were doing this, but if they can’t or won’t this is probably better than not having anything at all.”