"We’re Not A Murder Capital" – Christchurch Mayor (Updated)

from Newstalk ZB
08/09/2009 7:56:01

“Christchurch’s reputation as a ‘murder capital’ is being debunked by its mayor.
There were three murders in the city last month. In the most recent, a 32-year old man has been charged with the murder of his wife after two bodies were found under a house in the suburb of Wainoni. One body is believed to be that of Tisha Lowry, who has been missing for almost a year.
Mayor Bob Parker says unfortunately perception is everything but statistics show that Christchurch is actually New Zealand’s safest large city per 10,000 of population.
“The truth is, these crimes are being committed in greater numbers across New Zealand and in other similar-sized cities. So, we’re no worse. We’re a little bit better off but we still need to get better and that’s the focus of council.”

Mr Parker says he is still deeply concerned about what has been happening.”

And so he should. Trying to excuse the city’s appalling record by saying other places are worse is simply an avoidance of responsibility. Will people in the city rest easier knowing that there are places worse than Christchurch and will the families and friends of the victims feel better knowing this is how their deaths are to be dismissed?

Thinking about moving to Christchurch? take a look at this article in The Listener – What Lies Beneath

Bizarre and high-profile murders of Christchurch women have spawned the title “Crimechurch”. Is there something uniquely brutal lurking beneath the Garden City’s polished veneer?

The police found the body of Vanessa Pickering towards the end of a sunless Christchurch summer. They searched for the young mother under a monolithic grey sky and found her discarded down a hard bony slope on the dried-off Port Hills, the city’s recreational playground.

Just a few days earlier, the Christchurch High Court had handed down a life sentence to Jason Somerville for the “house of horrors” murders, in which he killed his neighbour Tisha Lowry and later his wife, Rebecca Chamberlain, by strangling them and stuffing underpants down their throats, then having sex with his dead victims and burying them under his house.

Not so many weeks before, the Garden City had seen Ashley Peach sentenced to life for murdering Kerry Downey, an animal rescue worker who had been called to his flat to pick up an unwanted cat. He’d dumped her in the Port Hills.

The list of brutalised women and children goes on: Marie Davis, the 15-year-old schoolgirl raped, suffocated and dumped in the Waimakariri River; Emma Agnew, raped, murdered and dumped in Spencer Park; Mellory Manning, stabbed, savagely beaten and dumped in the pretty Avon River by an unknown killer; Suzie Sutherland, strangled by Jule Burns and dumped in a vacant section.

Even in a country that produces roughly a murder a week, there seems to be something shockingly brutal and depraved about the way Christchurch’s killers slaughter their victims. The Christchurch Women’s Refuge reports an alarming and chilling increase in the sheer viciousness of attacks on women. “There seems to be much more anger attached to the assaults than previously,” says chief executive Annette Gillespie. “We only talk about the women who are murdered, because that’s what comes to our attention, but we see women every day who are only a second away from death but the cases are not reported because they haven’t died…” more

Actually the real figures are roughly two murders a week, New Zealand has the fifth highest murder rate in the OECD.

Further damage was done to Christchurch’s violent reputation the day after this blog post was written – A 14 year old boy was subjected to a violent and prolonged beating between midnight and 5am near Kivers Lane in the central part of the city. Two men, ages 18 and 20, and a 15-year-old boy were arrested soon after. One Christchurch street has just suffered its third violent death in four months.

See also:
Crime city Christchurch too scary for women” The Press newspaper report, Juyl 08

Recent violent deaths in Christchurch (including 4 people under 18 years old)
* 2 women recently found buried beneath a house in Wainoni
* Mellory Manning beaten, stabbed, stangled and dumped in the Avon River
* Andre James Delamare died after being stabbed in Phillipstown
* Tala Seleni, 55, and Melissa Nina Adcock, 32, were found dead from gunshot wounds in a Linwood council flat
* Timothy Constable died from stab wounds on a Christchurch street
* 15 year old Marie Davis raped and murdered by a convicted rapist
* 16-year-old Sean Martin William Philip Finnerty-Gallagher bashed and died in Christchurch
* Deaf woman Emma Agnew, murdered and dumped in Spencer Park
* Taxi driver Abdulrahman Ikhtiari stabbed to death in central Christhchurch.
* Kerry Leigh Downey, 52, strangled and dumped on the Port Hills
* Lipine Sila deliberately drove into a crowd of partygoers, killed two young girls Hannah Rossiter (16) and Jane Young (16) and badly injured eight others

What the statistics say – Homicides by area for 2007, 2008 (source statistics NZ)
Central Auckland: 7, 9 (16)
Dunedin Area: 6, 4 (10)
Christchurch Central Area: 5, 4 (9)
Rotorua Area: 5, 4 (9)

New Plymouth Area: 2, 6 (8)
Wanganui area: 1, 5 (6)
Whangarei Area: 3, 1 (4)
Nelson Bays: 2, 2 (4)
Taupo Area: 1, 2 (3)
Wellington Area: 2, 1 (3)
North Shore Area: 1, 1 (2)
Total homicides in NZ: 88, 109 (197)