Plans to set up neighbourhood support groups in South
Otago are going well, and organisers received a warm reception
in Waihola this week.
Otago Neighbourhood Support regional manager Sarah Hexamer
said she was working with police and residents to establish
neighbourhood support groups in the South Otago area.
''We had a meeting in Waihola on Monday night, which went
really well. Everyone we spoke to was really enthusiastic -
one of the best proactive communities I've come across.''
Constable Will Pentelow, of Milton, said the purpose of the
group was to build a community network and bring people
A meeting in Taieri Mouth in December also went well and both
Ms Hexamer and Const Pentelow hoped Milton would come take up
Neighbourhood support works by dividing towns into areas,
each of which nominates a contact person to liaise with police.
At meetings, people learn how to spot potential criminal
activity and what type of information to record.
Otago Neighbourhood Support also publishes a monthly
''No matter how safe your community is now, you don't know
what will happen in the future. Being proactive and engaging
with us as neighbourhood support ... [people] are caring
about the community,'' Ms Hexamer said.
''It's very beneficial for police and a good way to pass on
Neighbourhood support also helped civil defence efforts by
allowing the community network to be used in an emergency.
Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Balclutha, said
neighbourhood support was ''very worthwhile'' for police.
''We get very good communication and awareness from that
group. We don't have the resources to police 24-7.''
Police encouraged neighbourhood support groups and worked to
help set them up in the community, Sgt Dinnissen said.
Neighbourhood support groups in Lawrence and Kaitangata are
already in place, although the Kaitangata group is not yet
affiliated with Otago Neighbourhood Support.
Ms Hexamer said rural neighbourhood support groups were also
possible and the group in the Clutha Valley was doing
''really well''. She hoped to set up a similar rural
initiative at Lawrence.
Ms Hexamer will approach Milton residents in the next few
weeks about the scheme, before looking at Balclutha and
Anyone interested in creating or taking part in a
neighbourhood support group can telephone (03) 488-2392 or