‘Aggressive beggars’ on Stanmore Road a known problem

Kineta Knight
Kineta Knight
Apr 09, 2024 |

File

There are growing concerns about the number of “aggressive beggars” on Stanmore Road, with one local saying “enough is enough”.

A resident asked on a community Facebook page, “Anyone else having issues with the homeless on Stanmore Road?”

They said their “past few encounters have not been pleasant. I live across from the shops so walking distant is easy for me to run over if I need a bottle of milk etc but to have a younger male abuse me and yell in my face demanding money isn’t on!”

The beggar then yelled at the resident to get some cash out for them at the dairy.

“Luckily I can handle my own and got him out of my face but I’m worried this will occur to others who get scared easily,” the resident said.

The post went on to say that “the abuse and shouting at people is getting more and more frequent as well as harassing people” parked in cars.

They witnessed another male verbally abuse an older woman at the local petrol station “because she had no money to give”

“Surely this kind of behavior isn’t OK? A lot of people are afraid to talk about this matter due to the response, but enough is enough in my opinion.”

While some residents believe the beggars are homeless, the Christchurch City Missioner said they are not.

Corinne Haines told Chris Lynch Media, “We are aware of the problem with aggressive beggars at Stanmore. Most aggressive beggars are not people experiencing homelessness, although they can present themselves as being homeless or are mistaken by residents as homeless.”

“Our Outreach Service has visited the area and monitors it. Our role is to support people who are experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping. Most of the people causing problems for residents at Stanmore have a place to stay,” Haines said.

“The most important thing residents can do is don’t give beggars money. Giving money leads to this kind of situation and escalates aggressiveness,” she said.

“Residents experiencing threatening behaviour should report this to the police.”

The Facebook post has attracted well over 100 comments from other concerned residents, with one saying, “How do we as a community deal with this? Previous central ward Councillor was effective in helping at the other end of Stanmore.”

When shown the Facebook post, current Christchurch City Councillor for the Central Ward Jake McLellan said, “There have long been beggars congregating at the Stanmore village shops. I know the City Mission work closely with individuals in need of help. That includes those who frequent the Stanmore road shops. Without knowing the details of any specific issues, I can’t really say much.”

Christchurch City Mission’s advice on how to help genuine homeless people.

We take a compassionate and informed approach to helping genuine homeless people in Christchurch.

This is how we recommend you interact with rough sleepers you might meet on the streets:

  • Don’t give money.

  • It’s okay to offer food.

  • It’s kind to make eye contact and say hello.

  • Call our Outreach Service on 0800 787 855 or email us at [email protected] if you want to make sure they have been offered help, or if you are a business and they are sleeping outside your premises.

  • Call 111 if you have serious concerns for their health, or concerns that harm may come from their behaviour.

Kineta Knight
Kineta Knight

Kineta Knight Booker is a highly experienced journalist based in North Canterbury. She has worked as a reporter for radio, TV, digital and print, as well as an editor of lifestyle magazines in NZ and the UK. Kineta is the Head of Content Development at Chris Lynch Media. Contact: [email protected]

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