reporter: Jonathan, 7.8.07I've been thinking a lot lately (the last month or so) about the state of community in New Zealand.
I was delivering little booklets for church the other day to a few streets around and including Mahia Road, and was quite surprised at the state of properties in this area.
- Lots of graffiti
- Unrepaired fences and gates
- Dogs wandering the streets
- Cars in disrepair
- Unmown lawns
This neighbourhood is clearly full of residents who simply don't care about their property.
This is not however a poverty issue. This is people choosing to live in a pig sty.
- It's not cheaper to let a dog roam the street than to not have a dog in the first place.
- It's not cheaper to graffiti than to not graffiti.
- It's not cheaper to have a car up on block with panels missing than to get a scrap metal company to take it away for free (or give you money to take it away). Especially when your other car is a late model 4x4 with 'We Want You Motor group' proudly displayed on the spare wheel cover.
People talk of the 'good old days', when;
- you could leave your car keys in ignition when you went into the shop
- you could leave you house unlocked
- you could park you car anywhere you wanted without concern of whether it will get stolen
- you could leave things in the back seat with out fear that some one might see it and break in to steal it
- you knew everyone in your street by name
This is no longer part of New Zealand Society, especially places like South Auckland. Why?
Actions that we may considered the right and safe thing to do at the time, I think, are in fact contributing to the escalation of crime.
In response to crime we;
- get burglar Alarms
- get insurance
- get bigger locks
- move out of the bad areas
- no longer walk down certain streets or alleyways
- no longer park in particular places
- don't venture into dodgy areas
- don't let our children off our property unless they're with an adult
- don't send our kids to that school anymore
- get more insurance
and the list goes on and on...
Because 'good' people no longer live or venture into 'bad' areas what hope do these area have to become 'good' again?
Because we have insurance it doesn't matter that the police don't have time for petty crime. sure it's an inconvenience but we got our money back.
Because we all have big locks and alarms people who happen to leave something unlocked 'deserve' to have their house broken into.
As a community we are withdrawing, and as we, rightly or wrongly, withdraw, we are creating space in our community. If it's not good upstanding members of the community filling this space then then who will fill this space?
There is a quote which says - all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men to do nothing
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil in our community is for good men to hide behind bigger locks, taller fences and more comprehensive insurance.