Team effort deals to costly crime

JULIAN RAETHEL
Last updated 10:33 14/02/2013
BRUCEMAC

TEAMWORK: Constable Jeffrey Phillipps and Bruce McLaren Intermediate principal Roy Lilley are gaining ground on crime.

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It's been well over a year since McLaren Park tackled vandalism head on - and it's paying off.

Bruce McLaren Intermediate has saved more than $20,000 since the McLaren Park Neighbourhood Policing Team kicked into gear 18 months ago.

The team began in Waitakere after similar initiatives brought down crime in South Auckland and elsewhere around the country.

Constable Jeffrey Phillipps says it's about sending a message to potential offenders.

"We are watching them and we want members of the community, not just police, to be the eyes and ears and take control of their neighbourhood," he says.

Bruce McLaren Intermediate principal Roy Lilley has seen the benefits of the community getting stronger since a number of thefts and vandalism at the school.

"We had $48,000 in damage in 2011 alone. That money would have gone into computer development, reading programmes and sports trips.

"The whole area was identified with having a high crime rate and the community had to stand up.

"We had three barbecue gas tanks stolen on the weekend but apart from that we haven't had a serious incident at the school since July 2011 and that's a result of the neighbourhood policing team getting stronger," Mr Lilley says.

Waitakere team officer in charge Sergeant Geoff Barnett says the goal is to make communities in troubled areas become more self-sufficient.

"Since 2011 we've had significantly less emergency calls from the McLaren Park area which is positive.

"The idea is for police to have a high profile in these areas as a presence."

Gull Henderson Valley manager Karthick Subburaj says crime has dropped by 60 per cent in the past 18 months.

"We have had a lot of graffiti and shop theft. But the response time by the police, who we have been working with closely, has been very fast and they've chased a lot of people down."

Bruce McLaren Intermediate is hosting the McLaren Park Community Day on Saturday to help promote a safer community and celebrate the success the McLaren Park team has had in the area.

Residents are invited to come down and meet the policing team, emergency services and neighbours, with plenty of entertainment available. The day runs from 11am to 3pm.

Visit facebook.com/McLarenParkNPT or call 839 0600 for information.

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