Crime down as wealth rises

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012
temuka main street
MIKE CREAN/ Fairfax NZ
CRIME DOWN: A low crime rate in Temuka is being attributed to the increased affluence of the area due to dairying and its supporting businesses.

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A low crime rate in Temuka is being attributed to the increased affluence of the area due to dairying and its supporting businesses.

In the 2011-12 fiscal year the number of offences in Temuka was 283. That is down 14.7 per cent from the 2007-08 figure of 332. There was a peak in 2009 of 456 offences.

Contributing to the low figures is low unemployment in South Canterbury - one of the lowest in the country at 5.2 per cent. The national average is 7.3 per cent.

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism chief executive Wendy Smith said though figures were not available in isolation for Temuka the overall trend in the region indicated strong growth. She said there was an impact from dairy of recognisable value on other primary producers, manufacturing and processing in Temuka and Washdyke.

It is this rising affluence that Temuka Constable Tim Eaton attributes the low crime rate to.

He said over the past three months there were few burglaries and traffic had noticeably slowed along State Highway 1 between Temuka and Rangitata in recent months.

"We have only stopped one or two a week going over 110kmh," he said.

He was unsure of the reason for motorists staying within the speed limit.

A spate of car thefts in September and October by a group of 14 and 15-year-olds has since been addressed.

Youth and community worker Roger Double said the young people were joy riding and had kept out of trouble since.

He said they stole a covered 1974 Ford Capri out of a shed, took it for a drive and then returned it, even putting its cover back on, hoping it had not been missed.

"When the owner noticed the car was covered in dirt, it was a giveaway," Mr Double said.

Though crime is down the odd theft still occurs. Last weekend a small trailer was stolen. Unfortunately drunk driving is up in Temuka, according to police.

An anomaly is that there were seven motorists caught driving with excess alcohol limits over the past four weeks in the district which is almost twice as many as usual at this time of the year.

Last Tuesday an adult driver was stopped along Halley Tce at 6pm. He blew 766mcg, almost twice the legal alcohol limit. For such an alleged offence the driver's licence is revoked immediately for 28 days and a court date set within that period. If proven guilty the driver faces the possibility of losing his licence for six months and risks a fine of about $800.

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Mr Eaton said he did not know the reason for the drink driving.

- The Timaru Herald

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