Christchurch is New Zealand's safest large city, despite public opinion.
Police Christchurch Central Area Controller Inspector Derek Erasmus said Christchurch had recorded 100 violent offences per 10,000 population – lower than Wellington, Auckland, South Auckland, Hamilton and Dunedin – making it the country's safest large city.
However, the 2008 Quality of Life survey released today, which compared 12 New Zealand cities, found Christchurch had the lowest number of residents who felt safe in the city centre after dark.
"Many perceptions about safety in Christchurch are not based on fact," Mr Erasmus said.
Incidents of serious violence were highlighted by local media, yet there were fewer than in other major centres.
The media had a big influence on people's perception of their safety, Mr Erasmus said.
"This is very disappointing given that reality does not support these fears."
Police had been working closely with the Christchurch City Council and other agencies to alleviate public concerns, he said.
They had introduced Safer City officers in the central city at night to increase the perception of enforcement, and to be an extension of police in areas that people congregated.
The council had also funded 25 new crime cameras to target city `hotspots', which were being installed, Mr Erasmus said.
"The best location for cameras is constantly assessed and they are relocated to suit demand and social movement in city.
"The cameras' prime focus for police is public safety as a deterrent, and locating offenders," he said.