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Residents of Tonga Street desperate for help in improving the level of safety in their street have received wholehearted support from Taupo District Councillors.
Two petitions signed by the residents were presented to Council’s Taupo/Kaingaroa-Mangakino/Pouakani Committee yesterday. The petitions implored Council to clean up the property at 62 Tonga Street and install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the street.
The residents’ spokesperson, Claire Northcroft, said she and her neighbours had encountered numerous incidents of tagging, domestic arguments, attempted burglary, property damage, gang activity and assaults during the 15 months she has lived there.
“It is one thing to have your property vandalised or stolen, it is another to have your personal safety threatened,” said Ms Northcroft. “Good people live in Tonga Street. Please help us to feel safe and to live peacefully in our street and in our homes,” she said.
Mayor Rick Cooper was able to confirm immediately that Council had received permission from the Ministry of Education who own 62 Tonga Street to proceed on its behalf with restoring the property to an acceptable standard.
“We now have access to the house, we’ve cleaned it up and there are tenants moving in this weekend,” said Mayor Cooper.
The Committee has asked Council’s CEO, Rob Williams, to expand the security services currently covering Taupo’s key public areas to include Tonga Street. It also requested that the installation of CCTV cameras in Tonga Street be investigated.
Mayor Cooper told Ms Northcroft and the Committee that there has been no increase in the number of frontline police in the Taupo District since 1985, a fact which disturbs him greatly.
“Even though it’s not our core business, as Mayor, I see my job as being responsible for taking care of the welfare of you and the environment in which you live,” he said.
Ms Northcroft thanked the Committee for taking action which she says will allow the residents to feel safer in their street.