The City has reported an 80% increase in prank calls to its Public Emergency Communication Centre (PECC) in 2022/23 compared to the previous year.
As the holiday season approaches, which is the call centre’s busiest time, the City noted that domestic violence and assault calls also rose over the past financial year, indicating a lack of festive spirit for many.
The City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre (PECC) recorded more than 215 000 incidents between July 2022 and June 2023.
During the period, 91% of all calls were answered within 10 seconds.
The overall number of incidents logged increased by 14% year-on-year, and numerous sub-categories showed increases.
According to the data, 13 098 prank calls were reported in 2022/23 compared to 7 291 2021/22.
Domestic Violence calls were also up by 57% with 2 179 calls in 2021/2022 compared to 3 411 in the following year.
Assault calls were up by 14% from 9 822 to 11 162.
“While it is encouraging to see how many people make use of the emergency communication centre, it’s also disappointing and incredibly concerning to see the increases in incident categories linked to our social fabric. The level of interpersonal violence, and specifically gender-based violence should sound alarm bells. What makes matters worse is that a review of the statistics month-on-month shows clear spikes over December and January,” safety and security mayco member JP Smith said.
“I am also very concerned about the increase in prank calls. We have made a concerted effort in recent years to increase public awareness about the PECC, and it appears that an unfortunate byproduct of those efforts is the massive increase in prank calls. I truly hope the public can appreciate the very serious matters that our call takers have to deal with daily - there is no place, or time, to joke around.
The PECC provides a 24-hour call taking service for all life-and/or-property threatening incidents, with 67 call takers who work on a shift basis.
The PECC can be contacted by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.