Together we do make community safer

Last updated 05:00 06/06/2012

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Last month I wrote an article that essentially said that the police are the public and the public are the police. That is to say, we are just like you and we are a representation of our own community.

OPINION: The feedback I received was overwhelming, these articles usually slip by each month without notice but that one obviously hit the right chord.

It is the thought that we all want to feel safe and be safe in our community that saw us all unite in bringing some of New Plymouth's most wanted to justice.

Police compiled a list of the top five offenders that needed to be located to assist us investigate serious offending.

Our friends at the Taranaki Daily News played their part and picked up the story and ran it on the front page, complete with photos and a brief synopsis of what each one was wanted for.

This is where you, the public, played your part. The response police received was immense. So much so, that within a few days, four of the five were arrested.

At this stage only one remains `at large', I'm sure it is only a matter of time before he is also apprehended by police.

This got me thinking that if we could achieve these results together in a matter of days, what else we could collectively do?

If you are concerned about crime in our city there are simple things you could do to assist yourselves and police.

Neighbourhood Support – New Plymouth has a very active network co-ordinated from the Westown Police Station (7532495). This scheme plays a vital and important role in preventing crime and will help you feel more secure in your community.

Crimestoppers – this organisation is completely separate from police and was established to help police solve crime and catch criminals.

They run a call centre (0800555111) which allows you to pass on information anonymously. They in turn pass it on to police.

New Plymouth Community Patrol – this is a group of community-minded individuals who are trained by and work with police to patrol our most vulnerable areas.

They are essentially our eyes and ears, reporting back to police any suspicious activity they come across.

This group is always on the look out for capable and like-minded people to assist them (021505618).

If these aren't for you then there are some simple steps you can take at home to make yourselves less likely to become a victim.

To reduce car crimes, make sure you lock your car and take the keys with you. Do not leave valuables in the car. If you do, make sure that they are hidden from view.

To protect your home, lock doors and windows, check you don't have trees and bushes that would hide would-be intruders, check that outdoor lights are operational and keep an up-to-date record of your valuables, including type, model, serial number and even a photo.

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Most crime is opportunistic and the trick is to deny the criminal any opportunity.

- Taranaki

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