Focus on West Auckland crime prevention

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 14:43 04/07/2014

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Auckland Council and police are ramping up safety measures in Henderson after a spate of violent crimes, including the murder of dairy owner Arun Kumar.

Police would provide more resources in the area and the Henderson Massey Local Board planned to fund a network of CCTV security cameras in the town centre, the council said.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said he welcomed the initiatives to enhance community confidence and safety.

"It's great to see the community in the west coming together to deal with the issues facing Henderson, with the support of the police, the local board and business in the area," he said.

Police would deploy five more officers to patrol the Henderson town centre, in a bid to improve safety the council said.

Waitakere area commander Inspector Rob Cochrane said five extra officers were in addition to the foot and mobile patrols in the area that had been performed daily by staff for the past nine months.

For the duration of the operation, the extra staff would join the frontline Waitakere police officers, the Henderson community constable, constables from the Massey police station and the Pacific and Ethnic wardens in patrolling the town centre, Cochrane said.

"We're committed to ensuring that people in the area feel safe," he said.

"We've listened to their concerns and as well as walking through the streets speaking to people and looking for any signs of trouble when we do our foot patrols, what we'll also be doing is actually going into the shops and talking to the retailers along the way, so that they feel reassured that we are there."

Henderson Massey Local Board chairwoman Vanessa Neeson said the west had come together in response to what had happened in Henderson.

Security cameras were a concrete way of dealing with some of the issues facing Henderson in the long term, Neeson said.

The community was shocked by four killings in three weeks in the Henderson-Massey local board area earlier this year.

Farhat Malik and her daughter Sidra Malik were stabbed to death in their home in Ranui on May 20. Two days later Josh Roach was killed in a shootout in the same neighbourhood.

Then Kumar died after being stabbed in his shop on June 10. All the deaths were within 5 kilometres of each other.

Last month Cochrane said police were patrolling the Henderson CBD "more than we ever had" after it was revealed in 2013 that Waitakere was one of the least-patrolled areas in the country. Foot patrols of 126 per 10,000 people had been increased to 366 so far this year and there were more than 900 direct mobile patrols.

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Police also have a specialist youth development team that put youth through programmes to help get them on the right track.

Social deprivation in that area was leading to crime, Waitakere Anti-Violence Essential Services said.

The area had a median income of $26,800, which was below the Auckland median of $29,600. Income differences within the community are also significant.

- Stuff

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