Raglan urban residents are rising in numbers to challenges to do their bit to help prevent crime in their neighbourhoods.
A month ago Raglan police launched a public campaign to revitalise Neighbourhood Support Groups, and that was backed up last week with a challenge by the local acting sergeant, Andrew Mortimore, for urban residents to be as proactive as the rural Raglan community in thwarting criminals.
His challenge came after the Ruapuke Rural Support Group played what he described as a “crucial part” in the arrest of a trio of burglars.
The calls to action have had the desired effect: Neighbourhood Support area co-ordinator Kathy Gilbert confirmed to the Chronicle this week that 40-odd urban residents had now come forward and offered to act as street co-ordinators for the scheme.
“It’s been a wonderful response,” said Kathy, a volunteer worker at the Raglan police station.
She said she was now organising letterbox drops around town via packs sent to the new street co-ordinators, and hoped to have a number of new Neighbourhood Support Groups up and running shortly. “It will be people taking care of each other like families, and building strong communities.”
Mr Mortimore was full of praise for the Ruapuke community vigilance and action which led to the arrest of three males — aged 34, 25 and 14 — and their appearances in the Hamilton District and Youth Courts on burglary charges.
“Here in Raglan we’re blessed with a very proactive rural community and members of a Rural Support Group had noticed a vehicle towing a trailer acting suspiciously and phoned police,” he said.
“The vehicle was seen going up a number of driveways on Ruapuke and Whaanga Roads and, because we were provided with the registration number, officers were able to recognise this vehicle as one linked to a number of scrap metal thefts.”
He said police located the vehicle on Ruapuke Road, and a search under the Search and Surveillance Act revealed several items of interest that were later identified as having been stolen.
“The key things that led to the trio’s arrest were the relaying of timely and accurate information to the police … from the Rural Support Group members, which made all the difference.”
Mr Mortimore said if this sense of community could be replicated in Raglan town then together residents and police could be effective in preventing crime.
“Too often over here [in Raglan] we come across the old ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. Such was the case at one property the offenders targeted, which had been left unlocked — making it easy for the thieves to gain entry,” he said.
“People still think it won’t happen to them but when it does they are left asking why.”
His advice to urban residents: “Instead of waiting to become a victim look at the bigger picture, get together with neighbours and form a Neighbourhood Support Group so thieves know it’s not okay to target homes in Raglan.”
But the acting Raglan police chief was happier with his lot by this week as urban volunteer numbers pushed out beyond the 40 mark. “People have really come on board with the concept of Neighbourhood Support — I am real happy with the public support,” he said.
The co-ordinator of the Ruapuke group, who preferred not to be named, said her group had been running about a year now and involved 25-30 households.
“It’s really good for us to call and look out for each other — everybody here feels it’s a good, positive thing that creates a safer environment. You know the ones coming for surfing and fishing, and [conversely] when someone shouldn’t be hanging round.”