Meticulous North Shore resident more than nosy neighbour

Declan Curran keeps his North Shore suburb of Unsworth Heights safe and secure on his daily patrols of the area on scooter.
Felicity Reid

Declan Curran keeps his North Shore suburb of Unsworth Heights safe and secure on his daily patrols of the area on scooter.

Patrolling the streets and alleyways of his Auckland neighbourhood on scooter, Declan Curran finds he is part security officer, part on-call first aider and part rubbish removalist.

On his thrice-daily sweeps of the North Shore suburb of Unsworth Heights, Curran knows if something is amiss in the community he has lived in since the mid-1980s.

"I have an instinct for knowing when something is not right," Curran said.

Just days after he started his patrols in August, Curran located a stolen car. He has also been on the trail of tool thieves, helped stop plant thefts from the local reserve, scared off taggers in the SH18 tunnel, provided counsel to distraught teens and directions to lost walkers.

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Armed with a first-aid kit and on an electric scooter that can get him to steep or hard to reach locations, Curran tells his neighbours to get in contact and he can be anywhere in the local area within 10 minutes to help out should they be away from home and in need of basic first-aid.

Curran also acts as a one-man clean-up crew, taking care of litter after weekend parties in the reserve on his street and broken foliage after stormy weather.

Sometimes Curran offers a friendly warning to those disrupting the neighbourhood, other times he involves the police, if the situation calls for it.

He never compromises his own safety.

"It is surprising how many people are frightened to get involved or don't know what to do," Curran said.

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"I am careful that I am not intruding on what could be very legitimate activity. But, a simple intervention can stop a trade wind from becoming a hurricane."

Prevention is better than cure, according to Curran. As a member of the North Shore Neighbourhood Support committee he is often trying to recruit more people to join the organisation that helps neighbours look out for each other and their surroundings.

Safety is as important as security to Curran, so he also logs street lights that aren't working or damage to public walkways and amenities that he spots with Auckland Council departments.

Police encourage everyone in our community to get to know your neighbours, look out for them and also be vigilant within their communities, a police spokesperson said.

"If anyone notices a crime taking place, we urge them to contact Police and call 111 immediately. We don't want anyone placing themselves in situations that could potentially be dangerous to themselves and would rather they call the Police to deal with any serious matters."

 

 - Stuff

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