Police Report – Canterbury Earthquake: key points and forecasting

Extracts from a Christchurch Police press release issued earlier today:

 A police report on crime trends following the 4 September Canterbury earthquake indicates crime rates are predicted to return to normal levels over the next three months.

The report has shown that overall crime reduced by 15 percent in the immediate aftermath of the quake, although some categories of offending, including burglary and family violence, showed increased activity.

The report, Canterbury Earthquake: key points and forecasting, has been prepared by police for internal planning purposes, and has also been distributed to other agencies involved in the earthquake recovery phase.

Findings in the report include:

• Overall total recorded offences decreased by 15 percent in the three-week post-quake period. Some of this may be attributable to delayed reporting.
• There was a 28 percent increase in calls for service to Police, the majority of these coming on the day of the earthquake (1286 calls on 4 September, compared to a daily average of 500)
• Increases were recorded in domestic disputes and family violence calls, with some callers referring to the stresses of the earthquake. (Note that family violence statistics have been trending upwards for several years, due to factors such as societal changes and improved reporting, which may also have contributed to the increase).
• Significant reduction in theft from cars and car conversions
• Theft offences decreased by 35 percent, while recorded burglary offences increased by 18 percent, the majority of these from dwellings. Note that some suburbs targeted for burglary were already high risk areas.
• Suburbs which suffered significant housing damage were particularly at risk, especially in relation to theft of hot water cylinders and scrap metal.
• Violence offences decreased by 10 percent compared to similar periods in previous years.
• Decreases in reporting were also noted in arson, fraud and sexual offending.
• The number of attempted suicide reports increased in the post-earthquake period. However the total number was relatively low and given the short time frame this is not considered a significant increase.

The report is much more extensive than the above implies. It contains a significant amount of researched material that has looked at the problems arising from other major disasters (e.g. Hurricane Katrina, Australian bushfires) and put them into a Canterbury context in an attempt to forecast social and anti-social developments through 2011 and 2012.
One of the Report’s pointers for the future is that properties/areas vacated for repairs or rebuilding will become focal points for vandalism and theft. Increased membership of Neighbourhood Watch would be a good place for us to start. It would be also useful if we were to discuss how repairs and rebuilds in our area could be staggered to ensure that all vacated properties have neighbours present about them.
The report, which makes very interesting reading, can be downloaded from here.

Sewer repairs – timeframe

CCC recently published a two page information sheet with questions and answers specific to particular areas. With regards to sewer repairs in the Avonside and Dallington areas they had this to say:

What is the timeframe for sewer repairs in Avonside, Dallington and nearby areas?   It could be up to two years but it depends on the programme of works that the Council’s contractors determine. The contractors rebuilding the Council’s infrastructure will be responsible for the planning and timing of repairs. They will soon swing in to action and, in consultation with the Council, decide on the programme for repair for each area and the associated timeframes. There will be more information soon regarding the timeframe for them setting up in the area, including having a local site office.

Replacing the Medway Street bridge.

CCC recently published a two page information sheet with questions and answers specific to particular areas. A small comment was made on the future of both the Medway Street and Snell Place footbridges.

It seems that some progress has been made on deciding what to do with the Medway Street bridge.

When will the Medway St and Snell Place foot bridges be removed and rebuilt?   A report to the Council regarding the Medway footbridge is being prepared. The Snell Place footbridge is being assessed to determine whether to retain and repair, or remove and renew the bridge.

Road renewal and pothole fixing

The CCC has added more to its webpage Answers to questions raised at recent Council community meetings. This time it covers the planning and timetabling of renewing and repairing roads. The full text is below. The basic points to be taken the new information is:

  • Road renewal will not occur until after sewer and storm water drains are renewed.
  • Road renewal will not start until land remediation has been finished.
  • Resident participation in renewal planning will not occur, roading will be reinstated to the way it was (i.e retain the same street layout). Reinstatement will invariably mean that upgrades or improvements (e.g. speed restricting road designs) are unlikely to be made.
  • Where choices need to be made Council will make these and inform residents about the selected option.
  • Potholes will continue to be repaired as before the earthquake – notify the council of a problem and they will fix it.
  • Child safety issues associated with paths and parks that have been damaged will be done by contractors as part of the Council’s infrastructure rebuilding programme.

What is the road renewal timeframe?  Road renewal will follow pipe renewal works.

Are they going to wait for land remediation to occur before roads are replaced?   Yes.

Will the Council repair the roads and underlying ground to prevent vibration damage in the future?  All repairs will have road shape designs and requirements to minimise traffic-induced vibration.

What say will we have in selecting or advocating for a permanent solution and can there be improvements to parking etc?  Asset renewals will generally replicate assets that existed prior to 4 September 2010 using good practice methodologies. Asset renewals will include optimised decision-making and the installation of “modern equivalent” assets, e.g. new style flat street channels as appropriate. Residents will be informed about the selected option.

Can the Council seal the potholes as they appear?   Yes, please report them to the Council on Ph 941 8999.

When infrastructure is done will they upgrade at the same time?  Designs will generally replicate what existed prior to September 2010. Some “modern equivalent” assets will be installed, e.g. new style flat street channels as appropriate. Each site will be considered separately.

Can we get some interim repairs done to the roads in the meantime as they are dangerous?  All emergency work has been completed and all roads should now be safe for the posted speed limits. Final solutions/ timing will be determined by the contractors repairing the Council’s infrastructure in each area.

Will streets be redesigned to stop speeding when they are reconstructed?  The street layout will be a renewal of the original layout. Speeds will be monitored following all works and action taken if speed is an issue in the future.

Why is the Council not telling people when the water will be turned off?   There are two reasons for turning the water off: for reactive repairs when there is a burst pipe for instance or for planned work, for instance for the connection of re-laid mains. For reactive work when the Council’s contractor turns the water off they ring the Council call centre to let them know so if anyone calls in in there should be a record that the water is off and for how long it is expected to be off. It is not possible or practical to send notices, or inform everyone, every time the water has to be turned off for reactive purposes. For planned shutdowns the contractor doing the work should deliver notices to each household at least 24 hours in advance to notify the residents of the upcoming shut-off.

Can something be done about paths, and safety for kids in parks? Facilities are broken and paths muddy, creating a health and safety issue.   This will be addressed by the contractors rebuilding the Council’s infrastructure.

Will street design stay the same?   Yes, the street layout will be a renewal of the original layout.

Major updates to the Council's on-line information

The CCC has made significant additions to the web page Answers to questions raised at recent Council community meetings.

The two areas covered by the change are Support (mainly Red Cross and other relief grants and assistance) and Roads, wastewater systems and other infrastructure.

The Support information includes eligibility for grants, the forms to fill out, how much money is available, how many grants can be applied for, and whether insurance excess payments qualify for these grants (the short answer is no).

The Roads, wastewater systems and other infrastructure section covers a wide range of topics including a few we have discussed:

  • What is the Council’s schedule of plans for timing for repair and restoration of infrastructure?  The programme (including timing) is being prepared now.
  • Who fixes services / leaks in private lanes with several houses? As we pay the same rates.   Unless there is a designated Council main (water, wastewater, or stormwater) in a private lane the repair of the services is the responsibility of the owners of the properties in the lane. The Council can advise on a case by case basis if there is a public main in the lane.
  • Is there a contact person for toilet backwash etc?  Who do you call? What is the timing of information, and who do we ask?   If there has been a sewage spill onto a property, this presents a health risk and the Council will clean it up and disinfect the area. Phone the Council on (03) 941 8999
  • The streets are just patched up. When are the whole things going to be redone? Sewage, water, roads etc…   Council is appointing head contractors to plan the rebuild of the city’s infrastructure. This work will be programmed to ensure completed works do not get disturbed. This means that the order of work in a street will be land remediation (where required), sewer, stormwater, water and then road corridor and landscaping.
  • When they do infrastructure will they put power wiring, poles and fibre optic cables underground?   There are no plans for undergrounding services as the poles, wires, etc are not Council assets. Companies involved with fibre-optic cables have expressed an interest in being involved during any road renewals. The Councils contractors will meet with the telephone companies and Orion to ensure co-ordination of any service installation planned by these utilities.

There is a lot more on the web page.