Manukau Courier : April 8th 2014
Auckland’s most powerful media NETWORK Unbeatable coverage of Tuesday, April 8, 2014 808,000 readers 15+ Ph 09 525 0666 Source: Nielsen CMI Q3 2011–Q2 2012 A BROKEN-DOWN lift left wheelchair-bound Rhonda Stewart stranded and scared on the fourth floor of her Housing New Zealand apartment block. Thankfully, ‘‘four kind and handsome’’ firemen came to her rescue. But the incident has raised fears among the Papatoetoe building’s elderly and disabled residents who say they could get stuck for days. Stewart, who has muscu- lar dystrophy and lives in a ground-floor apartment, was marooned at the top of the building after she went up to visit a friend. The only lift in the com- plex is constantly breaking down, she says. It’s the first time firefight- ers have had to come to Stewart’s rescue but the lift has stopped many times before and it’s making her feel ‘‘unsafe’’ after eight years of living at the property. ‘‘If you’re stuck up on one of the floors and there’s a fire, you can’t get down. . . people around here are in their 70s and 80s – they can’t carry us down.’’ Resident Jack Gabolinscy says it’s a great concern for others living at the address and he’s frustrated with HNZ for showing a lack of urgency. Lift scare shows risks ❛ By NIGEL MOFFIET Many residents are too weak to use the stairs, he says. ‘‘The concern is they’ve built the place and they’ve put in pensioners and disabled people but the lift is constantly breaking down. If you’re stuck up on one of the floors and there’s a fire, you can’t get down. Rhonda Stewart ‘‘Once the lift is gone, and sometimes it’s gone for days, they can’t go for hospital visits, they can’t go to doctors, they can’t buy their shopping or anything . . . if they were going to make it for pensioners or disabled people they should have put two lifts in.’’ HNZ property services general manager Marcus Bosch says he’s aware of the problem with the lift. It is caused by water damage ‘‘which could have been exacerbated by tenants using the fire hose’’. ‘‘The lift has been out of service on a couple of occasions over the past two years. When this happens, signage is posted on the ground floor to inform residents. ‘‘We take the concerns of our tenants seriously and will be talking to residents on the upper floors who rely on the lift, to ensure they understand what they need to do in an emergency. When there is a fire, lifts cannot be used in any building.’’ Meanwhile, Gabolinscy says he also worries about emergency procedures highlighted by a small fire at the address three weeks ago. ‘‘There is no plan – the only plan for a fire is to get out on the balcony and come down the stairs. I don’t think that’s enough.’’ But Bosch says he is confi- dent with the level of safety. ‘‘This building has a direct connection to the fire service so for this reason does not require additional evacuation trials. ‘‘Again, as we take tenant concerns very seriously, we are looking into whether there are any additional procedures we can put in place to address these concerns and will be keeping tenants informed.’’ Stewart agrees more action is needed. ‘‘They should be more cooperative because they know I’m in a wheelchair and they know if I get stuck I can’t do anything.’’ But she admits she quite liked having four firemen come to her rescue. ‘‘That was quite good . . . I told them how strong they were.’’ Stuck: Rhonda Stewart and Jack Gabolinscy are grateful to Papatoetoe firefighters for coming to the rescue but they’re worried about safety issues at their Housing New Zealand apartment complex. Photo: NIGEL MOFFIET Police focus on crime prevention The number of crimes might be falling but fewer of them are being solved. That’s because police are concentrating on what the public wants – fewer victims, the district’s top cop Superintendent John Tims says. ‘‘All staff members in Counties Manukau district are committed to the prevention first model and are working toward preventing crime before it happens,’’ he says. Recorded crime per person across the district fell by 2.9 per cent last year, on top of a 12.5 per cent decrease in 2012. But police last year resolved 1272 fewer crimes at 19,939. That’s on top of a drop of 3086 the year before. ‘‘We are using the infor- mation we have available to us to effectively reduce calls for service and reduce revictimisation, which is what we There is a long-term downward trend with 10,000 burglaries recorded in 1996 but only 7000 in 2013. ‘‘We’ve been working hard with our partners to create relationships with leaders within our community to help residents and visitors avoid becoming victims for opportunistic crimes such as theft and burglary.’’ The recorded number of thefts rose 6.5 per cent last year, after a 15.6 per cent drop in 2012. Police commissioner Mike Good result: Superintendent John Tims says fewer people were burgled last year. know our community wants,’’ Tims says. He’s pleased the number of recorded burglaries fell by 5.1 per cent. Photo: SIMON SMITH ‘‘Having fewer victims of burglary each year is really encouraging and this is an achievement we are proud of.’’ Bush says the 2013 result is the lowest crime figure across the country in 29 years. One recorded crime category that bucked the trend with an 11.6 per cent increase was the number of sexual assaults. But that’s likely to be because of increased reporting, he says. ATAGLANCE Counties Manukau reported crime in 2013 and the change from 2012: ❚ Nine homicide and related offences (no change) ❚ 6328 acts intended to cause injury (down 9 per cent) ❚ 507 sexual assault and related offences (up 9.5 per cent) ❚ 134 dangerous or negligent acts endangering people (down 29.8 per cent) ❚ 1709 abduction, harassment and related offences (down 5.5 per cent) ❚ 468 robbery, extortion and related offences (up 0.2 per cent) ❚ 6723 burglary and related offences (down 5.1 per cent) ❚ 14,229 theft and related offences (up 6.5 per cent) ❚ 897 fraud, deception and related offences (up 13.4 per cent) ❚ 2035 drug offences (down 12.2 per cent) ❚ 811 weapon and explosives offences (down 9.1 per cent) ❚ 4473 property damage and pollution (down 8.7 per cent) ❚ 3700 public order offences (down 18.1 per cent) ❚ 1968 offences against the courts and government (down 4.1 per cent).
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