Radio NZ reports:
The police have been actively gathering and analysing detailed information on rising rates of crime and violence at emergency housing, despite insisting for months they do not “specifically” collect such data.
There’s been a “campaign of denial”, says National, accusing the Government of taking a “see no evil, hear no evil” approach to a growing crisis in New Zealand.
Two Cabinet ministers are also standing by public comments they’ve made, and in one case responses to parliamentary questions – now brought into serious question with a number of reports and inter-agency communications in the public domain.
It’s become clear that there is a link between rising violent crime and emergency housing. This is because the Government has mismanaged emergency housing, and just throws young vulnerable families in with gang members.
But it would be embarrasing to admit this, so for months the Government has denied there is any data on crimes at emergency housing, because if they admitted there was, it would have to be released.
RNZ has reported stories of people terrified of conditions in some accommodation amid commonplace instances of violence, criminal activity and gang intimidation – both residents, and those living and running businesses nearby. In September this year, there were about 4500 children living in emergency accommodation.
Despite a number of requests for information, the police have consistently refused to make any comment to RNZ, but now it’s emerged they hold reports covering emergency housing-related offences, the impact on the wider community and demands on police, dating back to July 2020.
So 18 months of data they have hidden from us.
It later states “police demand across the 19 emergency locations has significantly increased (140.3 per cent) from 2019/2020 to 2020/2021”.
“Offences at emergency accommodation locations have approximately doubled (+97 per cent) from 109 to 215” over the same timeframe.
Offences have victims – often other people at emergency housing. This is a monumental failure by the Government to keep people safe.