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And you, the residents of this
district are a vital part of keeping us safe, as you are the eyes and the ears
of our community. You will always be able to see and hear more than authorities
such as the Police and Council.
To give you an opportunity to
voice your opinions on community safety, Ashburton District Council, Ashburton
Police, and Safer Ashburton District are hosting a public forum at the Hotel
Ashburton, on Racecourse Road, on Saturday 15 September. The forum will start
at 4pm and will be an open discussion with residents about what we can all do
to make our communities even safer. Ashburton senior sergeant Phil Dean says
topics such as road safety, youth crime, suicide, and alcohol and drugs will be
included on the agenda.
The forum will also be a great
opportunity to learn more about the Safer Communities accreditation that our
district is currently working towards. Earlier in the year, as part of the Council’s
annual community grants and funding process, community organisation Safer
Ashburton District was allocated additional funding to lead the accreditation
process for our district.
The Safe Communities
Foundation New Zealand defines a safe community as one “where people can go
about their daily activities in an environment without fear, risk of harm or
injury”. It extends beyond the reduction and prevention of injury and violence
to include safe roads, public spaces, and workplaces. More than 50 per cent of
New Zealand’s population lives within an accredited safe community. Each
community has to create its own goals and priorities based on local needs.
Under the Local Government
Amendment Act 2014, Council has to regularly assess the cost effectiveness of
delivering its services. This is called a Section 17a Review. The results of a
recent Section 17a review on the community safety portfolio, which included
Safer Ashburton as a local services provider, recommended that the organisation
lead the Safer Communities accreditation.
A working group, made up of
representatives from a broad variety of organisations across the community, has
been formed as part of the process. A part-time coordinator was also recently
employed by Safer Ashburton District to oversee the project. A collaborative
action plan is being developed, which will include actions for how we, as a
community, can work together in partnership to achieve the accreditation. It
will be a community effort and one that we can all contribute something towards
in achieving the outcomes.
We are also very fortunate in
Ashburton to have Neighbourhood Support and Ashburton Town Watch Community
Patrol in our midst.
There are more than 300
Neighbourhood Support groups around the district, aiming to build connections
between neighbours, reduce isolation, share information, and lower rates of
offending through signage and awareness.
The Community Patrol is always
on the look out for more volunteers so if you have a few hours spare once a
month on Saturdays to help out with patrolling, have a look at the groups
Facebook page @AshburtonTownWatch to get in touch with them. Members also help
to monitor the towns security cameras.
Recently, Ashburton District
Council announced that more than 2500 LED street lights will be installed
across the district by the end of December this year. Research from New Zealand
Transport Association (NZTA) suggests that improvements to street lighting
could reduce the number of road crashes by about 30 per cent. The street lights
will also help to make neighbourhoods safer with the increased brightness
acting as a deterrent to petty crime. All of these factors, and many more,
contribute greatly to the general safety of our district and its residents.
I look forward to seeing a
good turn out to the public forum on September 15 and I strongly encourage
anyone who is interested to come along, share your thoughts, and hear about how
we can all work together to make our community a safer one.