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Papamoa Neighbourhoods Combat Crime

Bay of Plenty Times
19 May 2011

A spate of burglaries in Papamoa Beach Rd two months ago has led to 13 new Neighbourhood Support groups being formed in the area.

The organisation's local co-ordinator, Lorraine Stevens says the groups are helping cut crime in the seaside suburb.

"The amount of information being supplied by residents to the police and Neighbourhood Support is making a huge difference."

Also making a difference is a newsletter containing information on criminal activity in the area, compiled by Papamoa police sergeant Mark Pakes and emailed to Neighbourhood Support street co-ordinators, who then pass the information on to group members.

"If something happens overnight, for example, he will let us know in the newsletter and residents will be on the lookout," Lorraine says.

"We have countless examples of where residents have supplied helpful information to the police after being alerted by the newsletter."

Neighbourhood Support now holds three or four meetings every week to establish groups in Papamoa.

The increase in the number of groups is due to publicity about the March burglaries and the fact she and a group of volunteers followed up by hand-delivering flyers warning about crime to hundreds of letterboxes in the area, Lorraine says.

"We have also emphasised the importance of phoning 111 if you need to contact the police in an emergency, rather than phoning the Mount Maunganui or Papamoa police stations."

Co-ordinator for the past two and a half years, she says Neighbourhood Support's effectiveness is due largely to the efforts of Papamoa police officers, in particular Mr Pakes and constable Dean Woller.

Also keeping tabs on crime is the Papamoa Beach Community Patrol, which has operated in the area for 10 years.

Its 45 active members have their own patrol car and act as the eyes and ears of the police in the community, says chairman Ross Darrall.

Its work can range from keeping an eye on people and property to looking for missing children, and things as simple as speaking to property owners who have inadvertently left their garage doors open.

"We do all sorts of things but a lot of it just involves sitting in one place and watching a location where police suspect something is going to happen."


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