Crime control in Rangiora to be discussed at public meeting

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Kaiapoi Community Patrol co-ordinator Bill Diggons and the group's trainer, Owen Cassidy, North...
Kaiapoi Community Patrol co-ordinator Bill Diggons and the group's trainer, Owen Cassidy, North Canterbury Neighbourhood Support manager Sarah Saunders, Constable Tony Maw, Rangiora Community Patrol member Chris Barker, and Gordon Kneale, who is the vetting officer for the Rangiora patrol. Photo: Robyn Bristow
Crime prevention will come under the microscope at a public meeting in Rangiora on Thursday night.

Senior Constable Tony Maw, Kaiapoi and Rangiora Community Patrol personnel, and Neighbourhood Support will host the meeting at the Rangiora Borough School Hall at 7.30pm.

The meeting will discuss ways crime can be prevented in communities.

Constable Maw said while the meeting will talk about crime prevention tools, it will also be aimed at recruiting more volunteers to the community patrols, and getting more people to sign up to Neighbourhood Support.

“Both the community patrols and Neighbourhood Support are valued partners of the police and we would love to increase their numbers to keep our communities safe,” he says.

Rangiora Community Patrol vetting officer Gordon Kneale says Kaiapoi and Rangiora each have about 20 volunteers.

“Ideally we would like to double that number. The aim is to get our car out more often and show value to our community and our sponsors,” he says.

“We want to be visible, and be the eyes and ears for the police.”

Neighbourhood Support North Canterbury manager Sarah Saunders says 3000 people are signed up to its Get Ready programme. The programme promotes preparedness of people in case of disasters, so they can be self reliant until help arrives.

It also provides a good database for Civil Defence and others about where resources are in communities.

“We are really wanting to grow that number,” she says.

She says Neighbourhood Support also acts to help people to get to know their neighbours, and to find street leaders in both urban and rural communities to help form relationships to keep an eye out for each other.

“Our goal is strengthening communities with a crime prevention slant,” she says.

Constable Maw says the three-pronged approach to the evening is to provide communities with information and ways they can help each other and keep crime down.

However, he is also happy to speak about crime prevention strategies with groups, organisations or clusters of residents.

The direct link between the police and the community patrols meant efforts could be focused on a particular problem area.

“High visibility of patrols is a deterrent.”

Patrols are 24/7, but if more people volunteer it meant the patrols could be seen in communities more regularly across a 24-hour period.

Police and community patrols often went unseen because they could be in the early hours of the morning, so the police are also reliant on people reporting anything suspicious, Constable Maw says.

He urges people to ring the police immediately when they see something happening, not several days later.

Dial 111 if something is happening “now”, and 105 if it has already happened. People can also file reports online at: police.govt.nz/105support.

“That includes anything down to minor property damage or a person acting suspiciously,” he says.

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