Wellington residents fear for safety amid increase in aggressive, threatening behaviour

Pedestrians and central city workers in Wellington say they're dealing with an increase in aggressive and threatening behaviour.  

They say they are regularly accosted by people demanding money and want action taken. 

"I've had cans of Cody's thrown at me. I was assaulted as recently as last Friday by girls trying to steal my handbag," resident Kaylene Kahuwairo told Newshub. 

The increase in bad behaviour in the area has become a regular occurrence for Kahuwairo, who works in an office on Manners Street. 

She's been capturing the increasingly aggressive behaviour on camera. 

"I do love my job and being able to come into town and support my two kids and their koro, I just can't keep risking my safety coming down here," she said.  

Anna Simpson often walks through Manners Street but says she no longer feels safe. 

"Quite a lot of shouting and swearing," Simpson described. 

"The other day there was a man carrying around a solid pole, wandering around the bus stop where families and things were." 

Business owners in the area say their staff witness threatening behaviour daily, including verbal abuse. 

One owner told Newshub their staff member was punched in the face during a night shift.   

"It's often the result of very complex needs, mental health, addictions, being able to actively engage with support systems and services," Downtown Community Ministry manahautū (director) Stephen Turnock said. 

He said getting adequate support for those on the street is tough. 

"We have a system where emergency housing is run by one sector and the health system is run by another, so pulling those levers at the right time for one person is really difficult."