The Ruapehu District Council has switched off the free Wi-Fi that is available at Raetihi’s public library after hours.
According to the council, the move is an attempt to reduce vandalism and ‘other anti-social behaviour’ that occurs around the town at night.
RDC group manager Policy and Planning Pauline Welch says Raetihi has been suffering from a wave of vandalism recently with the area around Council’s office on the corner of Seddon and Duncan Streets being hit particularly hard.
“Because of the free Wi-Fi at the library the location had become a focal point for young people to gather at night,” Welch explains.
“Unfortunately a minority of them have been getting up to more than just surfing the net,” she says.
“Vandalism around Raetihi this year has included smashed windows at the community pool and Council office, plants pulled out at the local domain and various other acts of destruction around town such as graffiti,” Welch outlines.
“In addition to the vandalism, Council staff in Raetihi have also had increased levels of abuse recently - which is of significant concern.”
Welch says the Police recommended switching off the free Wi-Fi afterhours, which the council did on April 20.
“Council is also looking into installing security cameras, which have been very effective in Taumarunui and Ohākune at helping to curb these types of issues and in identifying offenders,” she adds.
Welch says that it was unfortunate that the council has had to take these steps as the whole community is affected as well as visitors and tourists.
“Ultimately this is a community issue and it will require a concerted whole of community response to resolve,” she says.