James Casson
James Casson, Hamilton City Councillor (East Ward) (Photo: Supplied)

Hamilton has a fairly high crime rate, and unfortunately a very overworked Police Department. For a society to operate efficiently and properly, people have to feel safe in their homes and to go about their daily business. Dairies, liquor stores have been targeted by criminals over the years, and so have been houses and cars.

As a City Councillor, one of my main areas of interest is safety of Hamiltonians, be it on the street, at home or at businesses.

Personal safety is close to my heart as I have worked as a Police Officer in New Zealand for 25 years (my last position here was as Sergeant incharge of the Flagstaff  Police Station)including a Close Protection Officer looking after the VIP’s visiting our country, and three years in the Queensland Police in 2012.

The good news is that Council and Police have a vastly improved working relationship which I am proud to have been able to help foster.  Both Police and Council working together will slowly, but surely reduce crime in time citywide. 

I was happy to be able to get HCC City Safe operation extended from the CBD to the suburban business areas.  City Safe personnel,recognisable by their highly visual uniforms, help to spot issues and work closely with Police.We will now be employing five extra staff to enable them to cover all city suburbs 7 days a week.

I have also head two anti- crime public meetings, one in Rototuna and another in Nawton which were well attended by residents and Police.  The purpose of these meetings was to increase awareness of what is happening in the community and to offer some possible crime solutions. It was also an opportunity for Police to know some of the concerns and problems faced by residents. There will be another such public meeting in Hamilton East/Hillcrest next month, which I will update once finalised.

Actually, you can do some really simple things to improve your families safety at home, at work and in public places.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design is internationally recognised in reducing incidents of crime and specifically burglary in homes. Don’t provide hiding places for burglars. Trim trees/bushes around you house to improve line of sight, declutter gardens and mow lawns. Keep your letter boxes clear of excessive junk mail as it is a signal to burglars that no one is home.

When leaving home for a few days, do not close all your curtains. Consider buying a timer that can be set on different times to turn on TV, and/or lights at random times to make it look like the house is occupied.  Finally, if you see any strange behaviour or suspicious persons or vehicles wandering around your neighbourhood, call Police to check them out and try to obtain any vehicle registrations.  You are the best person to know who belongs in your street and what is out of place.  It may be very innocent, but it may not and you could be preventing a crime.

Consider installing CCTV in and around your premises.  Don’t leave personal items in vehicles, and always lock vehicles when being parked.

In public areas, avoid walking through unlit areas at night time, when walking to vehicles always have your key in your hand to have quick and are not rummaging around for too long to gain entry to your vehicle.

If going for a walk in the evening or at night it always pays to have someone with you, not only is it safer but you can get fitter together.

Some of these things if followed can surely prevent crime.

 Being your representative in the Council, I am always available if you have concerns, and want advice or help liaising with Police are welcome to get in touch with me.


James Casson, East Ward City Councillor Email: james.casson@council.hcc.govt.nz ; Mob: 027 808 5173

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