Engineering options and police action are on the table, as Flaxmere residents look for ways to stop “a small number of troublemakers” tearing up their suburb’s streets – but there are also positive things the community can do.
And it is a small number: Measurements taken by police and Hastings District Council engineers show that more than 90 per cent of Flaxmere drivers stick to travelling below the speed limit.
Changing the unwanted behaviour through strong community disapproval and reporting, backed up by police action, was the most effective and long-lasting solution to stopping boy-racer burnouts and road-racing, police told a community hui in Flaxmere on Saturday, organised by Hastings District councillors Henare O’Keefe and Peleti Oli.
The issue with using engineering options such as speed bumps, narrowing roads or using traffic camera was that as soon as one street became a problem for boy-racers, they moved to another one, Hawke’s Bay Police Inspector Matt Broderick told the meeting.
Council would continue, however, to investigate narrowing some of the wider streets, which encouraged speeding and burnouts, when they became due for major works.
In the meantime, the community held the key to changing behaviour, Mr Broderick said. “Together we need to change the culture . . . we can work together with the community on prevention; to spread the message that this is not acceptable behaviour – and those who do it in Flaxmere will get caught.”
He said the most effective thing residents could do was phone police as soon as car racing or burnouts started. “People have a tendency to put up with it for about 30 minutes and then call us. That’s about the time they spend in one place before moving on. Call us straight away. Get a number plate and car description if you can – video if you can do it without risk.”
He said resident should phone 111 the minute it started; or 105 or Crimestoppers (0800 555 111) if they were calling later with information on an incident.
A resident who lives on a T intersection said he had done that, and after some weeks of reporting drivers to police and police following up, the problem had definitely eased. The trick was that everyone in Flaxmere needed to do it; to show them that they were not wanted in the suburb, so they didn’t just move from street to street.
Mr Broderick said the message the community could get out through its whanau, friends and social media channels was: ‘We are not having this anymore; it is risking the lives of us and our children; we
will be filming you; we will be reporting you to police; police will impound your vehicle.
Towards the end of the meeting, residents marked “hot spots” on maps of the suburb to add to the information police and Council had as they considered policing and engineering options.
Next steps include investigating easy ways for residents to provide information to Council, collating the information from Saturday’s meeting and preparing action points, and building a data base of the attendees who want to be kept up-to-date with progress. Residents wanting to be added to that database can email: email@example.com, with ‘Flaxmere streets’ in the subject line.
6 July 2020
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