Low crime rate leaves residents feeling safe

Brent Happer. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Brent Happer. Photo: Geoff Sloan
New data has revealed the Selwyn district is the least crime-hit out of anywhere in New Zealand. Matt Slaughter spoke to residents about what makes the area safe.

Brent Happer, who owns Happers Honda in Dunsandel, said it has been about 10 years since the store has been hit with any sort of crime.

The 43-year-old has lived in Dunsandel for most of his life and said crime has not been an issue.

Happer put the lack of crime in Dunsandel down to “being slightly rural.”

“We have that community feel where people sort of feel like you know each other still,” he said.

He said the township’s residents know who the police officers who serve the area are and this is beneficial for reducing crime.

Perhaps it is no surprise then that Selwyn has the least crime of anywhere in New Zealand.

Dot Loves Data has analysed crimes across the country, including theft, breaking and entering, illegal use of a motor vehicle, theft from a retail premises, assault and theft from a motor vehicle crimes.

It was found there are 12.68 crimes committed in Selwyn per 10,000 people per month.

In comparison, Rotorua, which has the highest crime rate in New Zealand, has a crime rate of 61.21, almost five times higher.

Said the report: “Selwyn is notable because it also has the lowest levels of deprivation of any region in New Zealand, providing further evidence of the strong correlation between deprivation and crime.

“The median household income in Selwyn is $103,737 and there are extremely low levels of beneficiaries. 98.2 per cent of all households have access to a vehicle, 93 per cent have access to the internet 79.4 per cent of households own their own home.”

Ruth and Errol Wood do not know anyone who has been burgled or robbed in Lincoln in their 38...
Ruth and Errol Wood do not know anyone who has been burgled or robbed in Lincoln in their 38 years living there. Photo: Supplied
Lincoln residents Errol and Ruth Wood don’t know anyone in the town who has been burgled in the about four decades they have lived there.

Said Errol: “I don’t know of anyone personally in Lincoln who has been robbed or burgled in 38 years.”

Errol is the chairman of Selwyn Community Patrol.

He thinks Selwyn’s crime levels are lower than other parts of New Zealand because of the large amount of work police do out of the office and face-to-face with the community.

“They [police] are not desk-bound and I think that’s a focus here that they patrol and they’re out and about and ready to act.

“I think the police we’ve got are very much community-focused,” he said.

He also said residents look out for each other and keep an eye on their neighbours.

However, he said some crimes have increased since Lincoln’s population has grown since the earthquakes.

“I know that, more recently, there’s been petty crime, stealing from cars, that kind of thing and that’s sort of happened, really, since the growth of the town and more people have moved into Lincoln.”

Stephen McDaniel. Photo: Supplied
Stephen McDaniel. Photo: Supplied
Senior Sergeant Stephen McDaniel said it is hard to say exactly why the district’s crime rate is lower than the rest of New Zealand but believes it has something to do with it being smaller and “up and coming.”

He said it is less prone to crimes that happen in bigger, urban cities and towns, such as violent crime, and car thefts and burglaries are the most common things police deal with.

However, McDaniel said dangerous driving is a big concern for the district’s police.

“We’re talking about crime stats but the thing is, when you look at road policing, I mean, we’ve got huge problems with intersections that sort of thing through Rolleston and Selwyn because they’ve just got the most intersections, that sort of area, throughout New Zealand.

“We have still got traffic issues about complacency and, at the end of the day, a lot of fatals [crashes] happen in that area. So they might not have the crime but they’ve definitely got the traffic,” he said.

He said police priority in Selwyn is to get out in the community as much as possible and maintain a face to face relationship with residents. He said their strong physical presence in town may play a role in deterring crime.






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