Fighting crime on internet

By Kristin Edge

Safer communities together has gone online in Onerahi with police and locals joining forces on Facebook.

Philippa Mannagh, a new resident in Onerahi, said she was impressed with the passion of people living in the community and wanted to bring all the vibrant parts together in one place. And what better place than online and on Facebook.

The Onerahi Community Facebook page has been operating for two months now and is gaining momentum with Onerahi police using the page as a place to help fight crime.

"I kept coming across people with a passion for Onerahi and thought a Facebook page would be great. It's developed faster than I thought," Mrs Mannagh said. "Now there is a real awareness of community and safety. People are sending photos and sharing events - it's awesome. We are getting thousands of hits every week."

Local police constable Aaron Furze has also tapped into the online community in a bid to solve a spate of burglaries in the area.

In a post on the Onerahi Facebook page, Mr Furze said jewellery seemed to be the main item targeted in recent burglaries.

Over a two-week period he estimated around 10 home burglaries, particularly in the Ross and Church Sts and Raurimu areas. He advised those following the page to photograph jewellery and keep a description. He also asked people to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and report it to police.

Mr Furze was working on establishing an Onerahi Police Facebook page.

Earlier this year the most northern police officer in New Zealand Senior Constable Tracey Knowler set up the first Facebook page in the Northland police district and has found it a great tool.

"Certainly the Far North community has thrown themselves into the Facebook option as a way of communicating with me," she said. "When it comes to local knowledge and finger on the pulse, local people are my greatest asset."

- Northern Advocate

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