Auckland crime surge linked to poverty - councillor

Source: 1News

A spate of violent crime in Auckland has left one of the city's councillors saddened and concerned for the affected communities.

Speaking to Breakfast on Tuesday morning, Auckland councillor Efeso Collins said he believed there was a rising rate in violent crime in the city, brought on by a variety of factors including poverty.

"I think people are looking to vent a deep frustration that they have," Collins said.

"I think poverty is deeply connected to these issues because when people have nothing, when there's insecurity around food and housing and when you're going to get your next meal, naturally you're going to feel frustrated and slightly overcome and it manifests itself in violence."

Collins' comments come a day after a man was killed in a shootout with police in Glen Eden, which also left three police officers in hospital.

On Sunday night a police officer was seriously injured when a fleeing driver struck them in New Lynn. Police are also investigating three shootings in Auckland on Sunday which they believe are linked.

"I'm really concerned for our communities," Collins told Breakfast presenter Jenny-May Clarkson, while also attributing the rising crime to stress and fatigue brought on by the long Covid-19 lockdown.

"Lockdown has confined people and forced them to see their challenges immediately in front of them and that leads to violence."

It had also made it difficult for people to stay connected at social meeting points such as marae and churches.

Collins believed the solution to the ongoing issue was to improve mental health services, and for community groups to guide their people in the right direction.

"If we can get our young people focused on things that give them a real lift, a real sense of ability and achievement, that's what's going to help our young people.

"We'll keep them distracted from the gangs and we'll keep them attracted to things that are going to be beneficial for their lives in the long run."