After Covid, crime swells in New Zealand’s empty city centres

After Covid, crime swells in New Zealand’s empty city centres

In the early evening, light leeches quickly from Auckland’s central business district, and the people follow. Offices regurgitate workers on to the streets, but their numbers are still thin – of the thousands sent to work from home, many have yet to return. Shopfronts on Queen Street, the main shopping artery, are pockmarked by For Lease signs. By late evening, the street is deserted. On many shop windows, owners have rolled down steel grates. Already emptied out by Covid-19, some of New Zealand’s cities are now facing a spike in crime. Police data released to RNZ indicated violent crime rates in Auckland, the largest city, were up 30% from pre-pandemic levels, and remained steady compared to the year before – despite months of lockdown keeping people indoors. In Wellington, recent …
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