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VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION: Bruce Hatrick has been acknowledged for 17 years of service to Neighbourhood Support.
When he joined a Neighbourhood Support group 18 years ago it began a valuable contribution to the community.
The Pakuranga resident is one of a group of people who have been recognised for their volunteer work at a ceremony organised by Manukau City Council last week.
He says he was humbled to receive a nomination.
"It’s nice to get recognised but you don’t do it for that."
Mr Hatrick has started many new Neighbourhood Support groups over the years, and enjoys seeing neighbours get to know each other as a result.
"I believe in it – it does work.
"It forms an avenue of knowing what’s going on."
He has also worked to develop the national website and wants to encourage people to register to receive emails about local crime trends.
Mr Hatrick says people don’t question enough whether someone should be on a neighbour’s property.
If he sees an usual vehicle in the driveway of a neighbour’s house he will ring them to make sure they are expecting a courier parcel or a cleaner.
He says his neighbours are grateful that he rings to check because they know he is looking out for them.
It is much better to call and confirm that people are at a property for a good reason than to risk the possibility that they are not, Mr Hatrick says.
"Neighbours as a group can be powerful."
One of the problems Mr Hatrick encounters is that people are now more transient so when Neightbourhood Watch coordinators leave they aren’t replaced.
He says while being the contact person for a support group doesn’t take up much time people wait for someone else to do it.
He says he will always continue his work because there is no reason to stop.
One of his main aims is also to reduce the fear of crime and make people aware of what they can do to help themselves to "put a block in place for the opportunist".
Howick sergeant Keith Olsen says Mr Hatrick is worthy of recognition.
"He has given up a lot of his own time to help educate the community on crime prevention and community safety." he says.
"He has done a fantastic job in maintaining the Neighbourhood Support website which receives hits from all over New Zealand.
"The key thing would be the time Bruce has invested in making the community a better and safer place," says Mr Olsen.
For more information about joining a Neighbourhood Support group or to sign up to receive email updates about crime in the area go to www.nsupport.co.nz.