Some Wellington 1 NEWS locals and business owners have said they don’t feel safe in town.
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Many say they do not feel safe in the capital as sexual harassment, physical assault and theft increase. Source: 1 NEWS
Over a two-year period, the capital’s CBD has led to an increase in crime, including sexual harassment, physical assault, and theft.
Earlier this month, a video posted widely on social media showed a man being attacked by a bouncer on a Saturday night.
CCTV footage has since revealed that the attacked man had hit the security guard moments earlier.
Last month, a man died in hospital after being attacked outside Te Papa on a Saturday night.
The murder investigation opened after a man died in hospital after being attacked outside the Te Papa Museum
Wellington Area Commander’s superintendent, Dean Silvester, said these were isolated incidents that unfortunately received a lot of attention online.
“If we did notice, we could act quickly,” he said.
However, residents of the capital are concerned that it is no longer the friendly city it once was.
A resident who spoke to 1 NEWS said she was followed home more than once.
“There have been a few times when we’ve been followed home or into the streets,” she said.
“It’s pretty scary. I don’t feel safe at night. When you’re in a group it’s usually fine, but not mine. I’m always at home and live five minutes away. “
Another local said he often saw fights break out on Friday and Saturday nights.
“As long as you keep your head to yourself or are with a group of safe friends, you’ll be fine.”
A Wellington business owner said he has faced multiple threats in his life.
“It’s pretty scary. It has reached a point where my staff no longer feel safe, ”said Hamish Garrick.
His bustling downtown store, Night ‘n Day Cuba Street, is also frequently robbed.
“The night and day are pretty much the same – dealing with drunk people, dealing with abusive and threatening behavior,” he said.
Dean Silvester, superintendent of the Wellington Area Commander, said the city center was a problem for police due to the high number of incidents of attacks and disruptions.
“They mostly happen on weekends and we would say that this is due to alcohol consumption,” he said.
Wellington City Councilor Fleur Fitzsimmons said part of the problem is that police are not enforcing the CBD’s alcohol ban.
“We have to see that the police enforce this. We need downtown Wellington to be a safe and stable community. Right now we are seeing too much anti-social behavior and violence that need to stop. “
The police told 1 NEWS in a statement that the organization takes the enforcement of alcohol bans very seriously.
In the evenings and on weekends, the police are more represented in the city, said a spokesman, where officials enforce alcohol-free zones.
Garrick claims there are people who drink regularly along Cuba Street.
“Open drinks here in the Cuba Mall. And you see the police go by and do nothing. Is that acceptable? No.”
Hospitality groups, the council and the police meet regularly to discuss the rise in crime in the CBD and to ensure the city is a safe place.
The officials agree that there is no clear, uniform solution, but that something has to change.