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Crime database will help put neighbourhood support on map

Bay of Plenty Times
3rd July 2010

By Michele McPherson


As thousands of Western Bay households sign up to neighbourhood support groups, the region is set to become the first to use a geographic information system (GIS) to help combat crime.

Tauranga police Constable Steve Campbell and Western Bay of Plenty Neighbourhood Support secretary Julia Kleve are working to develop a web-based database of all households belonging to neighbourhood support groups.

This secure database will be used to send emails informing residents about crime or suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood.

The database could also be used in partnership with Civil Defence to keep residents regularly updated in the event of a disaster.

An email alert system is already working well in Papamoa, where neighbourhood support area co-ordinator Lorraine Stevens sends out weekly emails to more than 2000 households.

By the end of the year, Mr Campbell said police and neighbourhood support co-ordinator's hoped to have the database fed into a GIS mapping system which stores, analyses and presents data linked to a geographical location.

This system will map each of the households where members of neighbourhood support groups live.

If a crime occurs the details can then be fed into the GIS system so the location of the crimes can also be marked on the map.

As the number of neighbourhood support groups grow, more volunteers are needed to fill the roles of area and street co-ordinators.

A resurgence in neighbourhood support groups in the Western Bay has seen numbers in Papamoa swell to more than 2000 households with co-ordinator Lorraine Stevens and Sergeant Mark Pakes attending an average of two new group meetings each week with 17 more waiting.

Mr Pakes said the trio of burglars attempting to break into a house in Santa Barbara Place on Tuesday was a great example of neighbourhood support at work.

A resident who knew their neighbours were away noticed suspicious activity at their home and dialled 111 immediately.

Mr Pakes said the need to call 111 when you see something was one he was constantly trying to get through to the Papamoa community.

In another case, Mr Pakes said police were called by a resident after a teen was seen behaving suspiciously in a public walkway.

When police arrived the teen was found to have a hammer concealed in his clothing.

"In his words he was down there window shopping,"

Source: http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/local/news/crime-database-will-help-put-neighbourhood-support/3916754/

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