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Crime stats show drop in central city

INDIA HENDRIKSE
Last updated 05:00 30/05/2014
Helena Moot
TAKE CARE: Helena Moot no longer feels safe in the CBD after a man tried to steal her bag.

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The number of robberies in the central city is down from 13 in April 2013 to seven in April this year but people still need to be wary.

Auckland City police Inspector Vaughn Graham says crime in the central city has been decreasing since December 2012. One recent initiative that has helped is StoreWatch.

It is a text-out system allowing shopkeepers in Queen St to alert each other about shoplifting threats.

Initiated by Auckland City police Constable Rachel Cameron, StoreWatch encourages communication among store owners.

Cameron says the system has sharpened observation skills.

"The stores are very active because it has really educated them on what to look out for," she says.

Matt Dewsnap of Queen St retailer Cotton On says he has noticed the difference.

"I've worked in retail in the city for the last six years, and there's been an increase in the amount of shoplifters, but there's also been a lot more support from the police in preventing it. It came about at the end of last year, but they keep improving the system and it's just getting better and better," he says.

Graham says people still need to take care.

"We're not at the level we want to get to, but we're certainly making progress.

"The reality is we do have crime happening in town, and even one or two incidents is not a very nice experience. We still do have victims out there and it still will feel really bad for them."

One such victim is university student Helena Moot, who recently moved to Auckland from Christchurch and was assaulted in Queen St earlier this month.

A man pushed her and tried to grab her bag in the middle of the afternoon.

The incident has left her shaken and more aware of her surroundings in the city.

"I feel really unsafe and uncomfortable, and I'm more aware of the people around me," she says.

Vaughn says police have a strong focus on Queen St but he warns individuals should still be aware of their own personal safety when in central Auckland.

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- Auckland City Harbour News

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