Puhoi Neighbourhood Support group meeting 05/11/14

Thank you to those people that attended the Neighbourhood Support meeting last night held at the Puhoi Sports Club. Gauging by the interaction of the 34 people that were present at the meeting, it was obvious that the establishment of a Neighbourhood Support group approach would benefit the community in many different ways. http://www.neighboursday.org.nz/

Key messages spoken about –

CALL 111

Always call 111 for any incidents or to report any suspicious activities to Police. It is the job of the dispatchers to channel your call appropriately. Taking this approach ensures that all information is logged correctly and reaches the appropriate groups within the Police.


If you want to stay anonymous when reporting issues then use the Crime Stoppers reporting line: http://www.crimestoppers-nz.org – Their website carries this key message: Speak Up – Give information about crime without revealing your identity – Call 0800 555 111.


Record serial numbers from your valuable (and re-sellable) items. In particular: TVs, Stereos, Laptops, Tablets, Lawn-mowers, Chainsaws, Quads, Motorbikes, Trailers etc; anything of high value which is small enough to be thrown into a trailer or in the back of a Ute / 4×4. Once you have collected your serial numbers there are plenty of options on how to record them safely. If you have an email address with cloud storage you can send it to yourself.


If you want your serial numbers listed with the Police, they offer a service called SNAP. https://www.snap.org.nz/ – This is helpful as they can search this database with recovered property and link it back to you –  maybe even before you notice it’s been stolen!..??


If you have firearms, please, please ensure that they are locked up as you’re required to by law.  There would be little worse than an opportunistic theft of an improperly secured firearm. – It is optional to record your serial numbers with the police, but this is highly recommended.


We have had quite a few trailers of various types being stolen in the area and there are a few simple things that people could do to reduce their risk as follows:

– Have the trailer out of sight. Even if it is down a long driveway keep it hidden.

– Have some form of lock mechanism on the trailer, whether a wheel clamp or coupling lock.

– Engrave the trailer with your name or something so we can match it up if we find a trailer (we often come across trailers that are stolen but can’t be identified). Engrave it somewhere that is hidden so that the crooks can’t grind it off.

– Ideally a small GPS unit attached to the trailer. They are relatively cheap and reliable these days. I would be doing this to the more expensive trailers.

– Make sure the trailer is insured.

– Take a photo of the trailer.

What to do if you catch someone ‘in the act’?

  1. Your primary aim is to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

  2. Your secondary aim ought to be to get them to stop what they’re doing and to leave without taking / damaging your property.

  3. Your further aim might be to collect information on the offenders which could lead to an arrest, a discovery of their operation or even a prosecution.

  4. Know your personal physical abilities before attempting any intervention with strangers.

Don’t be afraid to make a good amount of noise and verbally challenge someone. They will not necessarily be looking for a confrontation and anything which makes them know that they have been discovered will create a situation that they will want to remove themselves from. If you feel your personal safety could be at risk by intervening, ensure you call 111 first. Attempt to get an immediate response from 111 if they are on your property and if you intend to intervene.

You are probably best not to trap or corner an intruder, they will be looking for an exit and will likely take it. You will be unlikely to restrain or hold an intruder who is determined to make an exit and escape for freedom. They may also have friends outside which you may not have noticed yet. Your best approach is to get them to go away rather than for you to try to apprehend them. Then call around and let your neighbours know. Just because they’ve been scared away from one property doesn’t mean they’ll call it a night; they’re likely to move on and try their luck somewhere else. We need them to get the message that we’re all willing to make this hard for them.

Photos (with flash at night), clear descriptions of people, license plate details, car types, makes and models, car colours, key distinguishing features of people and cars etc…  All of these types of details make a report much more meaningful and usable for the police attending.


We have recently had some great successes and prosecutions for burglaries as a result of private CCTV cameras being operated and footage forwarded to Police. If you are considering cameras, do some research on them first and install them in a safe and secure hard to get to place. In saying that you need to place them in such a place that they capture the vehicles rego and persons entering your property. Do some trial runs with your own vehicle and you getting out and walking around etc then view the footage. If you operate cameras, be aware that in order for them to be useful for a Police prosecution you will be required to front up in court and present footage as your evidence.


If you don’t want to out lay for cameras and you want to utilise what you already have, remember barking dogs, locked gates, security lights and a willingness to make a challenge all make great security systems in their own ways.

If you have a long driveway, consider fitting a remote audible alert that someone has come down it, there are kits available. There’s one here for $60 which will do ~60m. http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/security/swann-driveway-alert-alarm-dsnz-l9568
Or, something like this one which can do up to around 100m:

If you have a shed or an out-house there are some small, light-weight, low cost, stand-alone alarm units which might alert you at night that someone is messing around in it, the noise is loud and piercing and may be enough on it’s own to get people to stop what they’re doing and move on… http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/security/keypad-controlled-home-pir-dsnz-l9603

Secure your electricity meter boxes, but ensure that the meter readers can still view the meter clearly. This just eliminates the perpetrator(s) from turning off the power supply if you have an alarm fitted.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) approach.

General CPTED Principles

CPTED is a situational crime prevention strategy that focuses on the planning, design and management of the built environment. It reduces opportunities for crime, as well as fear of crime, by using design and place-management principles that reduce the likelihood of essential crime ingredients from intersecting in time and space. Predatory offenders often make cost-benefit assessments of potential victims and locations before committing crime. CPTED aims to create the reality (and perception) that the costs of committing crime are greater than the likely benefits. To do this CPTED employs four key strategies: Surveillance, Access Control, Territorial Reinforcement and Space/Activity Management”

CPTED influences offender decision-making by:

  • Increasing the real, or perceived risk to offenders;

  • Increasing the effort required in committing crime;

  • Reducing or removing opportunities for excuse making; and

  • Reducing the actual or perceived rewards of criminal behaviour.


And remember to do the basics around your homes and vehicles.

  • Lock things.

  • Don’t leave things out, remove the temptation for opportunistic theft.

  • Fit curtains over garage / shed windows so people can’t see what you’ve got in there.

  • Fit security lights

  • If you notice something, call around. Get your house lights turned on, ask your neighbours to do the same, if three local households appear disturbed by something they’re likely to pack it in and move on.

If you notice odd people wandering around, take photos of them, ask them what they’re doing. If they come up with a random, rubbish, low in detail excuse for being there, challenge them. – If they say ‘I’m looking for John’, ask them more details; ‘John who, where does he live?’ – ‘What do you want John for?’ – If they fumble around with unclear answers then it’s clear they’re making things up. – Tell them that you don’t believe them and that you’re reporting this to the police. And mention the neighbourhood support group. If it turns out to be legitimate, it’s always possible to apologise later.

Recommended next steps:

  • Help yourself first: Have a look around your own place, see if there’s anything you can do to obviously remove any temptations, hide things better, lock things away, get some basic alarms and use them on every occasion.

Phone lists / know your neighbours:

Drop into your neighbours and make sure you’ve introduced yourselves to at least your closest three neighbours in each direction. Share phone numbers. Ask for agreement that, if you’re concerned about anything, that it’s OK for you to call each other at any time of day or night – make that offer back. Localised ‘cells’ of support are key when we’re all pretty remote and rural.

That’s about all for now. If you have any questions or want to advise me of any vehicle registration numbers you think are out of place please email me at Stephen.hunt@police.govt.nz . If you missed out on Neighbourhood Support signs or Lock It or Lose It signs, let me know to as I have plenty more now.

For more great ideas and information please visit our Police website at: www.police.govt.nz

Regards, Steve

 image001 Constable Steve Hunt
Rodney Prevention Team | Whangaparaoa | New Zealand Police
P   +64 9 424 6500  Extn: 96511   E   stephen.hunt@police.govt.nz
Whangaparaoa Police Station, 716 Whangaparaoa Road, Whangaparaoa, PO Box 284, Whangaparaoa, Auckland 0932, www.police.govt.nz

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