United to save suburb
By IMOGEN NEALE - Papakura Courier
More than 60 locals turned out to a special Takanini Residents Action Group meeting last week, stirred up by a spike in car thefts, burglaries, two intruder attacks and police raids on drug houses.
Residents of 20 years and devoted action group members Michael and Darryean Glendinning feel the suburb has become dramatically more dangerous in recent years.
"Recent crime has hit home to people and motivated them to do something about it," Mr Glendinning says.
He feels Takanini has lost its way since the departure of the racehorse industry and influx of state housing.
"It needs a clean-out and thatís what police are doing."
Also at the meeting were Papakura mayor Calum Penrose, police acting area commander inspector Gary Hill and community constable Peter McNab.
Mr McNab says residents are worried about Takaniniís crime spike and want to know what police, the council and the community can do about it.
"We mainly advised them what to do Ė ring 111.
"Not enough people are ringing us."
Mr Penrose says some residents donít report incidents because they worry about wasting police time.
"They must report it," he says.
"Prevention is better than cure."
Mrs Glendinning says itís up to Takanini residents to change things for the better.
"Everyone needs to pull their finger out and get a community watch going," she says.
"The area was good and thatís what I want to come back."
The action group hopes more locals will attend next weekís meeting to hear council Neighbourhood Support officer Carol Dickson talk about setting up community watch groups.
In the two decades the Glendinnings have lived in Takanini, they say theyíve always made an effort to introduce themselves to their neighbours.
"I ask them to tell me if theyíre going away," Mrs Glendinning says.
"I can feed their animals or hang washing on their line to make it look like theyíre home."
She also keeps a pair of binoculars near the kitchen sink so she can keep an eye on surrounding properties.
Mr Glendinning says the area needs more of that sort of community spirit.
"Iíve lived around here for so long and Iím very passionate about it.
"I just wish other people were as well," he says.
The Action Group meets on the last Wednesday of every month at 7.30pm in the Takanini School staffroom at 39 Takanini School Rd.