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Call for vigilance as rural crims get busy
9 June 2008
By MARY BRYAN, Wanganui Chronicle

Wanganui
Rural crime is on the increase and residents need to be more vigilant.

This is the belief of Janet Worfolk, area co-ordinator of Wanganui's Neighbourhood Support and Rural Support.

On the day the Chronicle called to see her, she was emailing Rural Support contact people throughout the district to be alert for suspicious behavior around vacant properties.

The owners of a vacant farm cottage in a remote area had just found it stripped of its copper spouting and fixtures.

Last week three rural homes, including two on SH3, were entered. Electrical goods such as cameras, videos, stereos and televisions were taken.

Her area extends from Wanganui to Waverley, up part of the Parapara and much of the Rangitikei, but she said there were surprisingly few people who belonged to rural support. "Rural crime is often more traumatic because of the isolation of properties and effect on livelihoods. But the more people are pro-active about joining rural support the easier it is to combat it."

Goods that were stolen might be able to be replaced, but when a home, rural or urban, was broken into the owners felt violated, she said.

"Urban areas, which are part of neighbourhood support groups, don't get targeted like areas that are not, and the same happens with rural areas.

"In the rural areas we put up signs warning people a support group operates there and the signs do act as a barrier."

Urging people to form the police supported rural support groups, Janet Worfolk said:

Rural support groups help with flow of information to and from police about any suspicious activities in relevant areas.

Rural support group members are given packs of information on things to look for. These include noting the make, colour and licence plates of vehicles not known in the district. The direction vehicles are travelling (in the case of rustlers such vehicles could include utes, trucks, horse floats) and giving that information immediately to police.

The rural police officer also should be contacted immediately a person suspects or comes across anything suspicious. This can enable police to go straight to an area and, at times, block the offending vehicle's escape. Janet Worfolk can be contacted in the morning on weekdays on 06 3480568. For more information people can also ring 0800 463 444 or go to website www.ns.org.nz

Caption: Wanganui Rural Support and Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Janet Worfolk takes a call from a rural resident interested in becoming part of a support group.

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