Working together to reduce crime (+video)

By Kyra Dawson

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He works from the police station, knows the ins and outs of crime in Rotorua, and keeps a note of all the burglaries - but Bruce Quedley isn't a police officer.

Mr Quedley is the Rotorua Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator, a job he has been doing for the past four years.

In his role he liaises with up to 560 groups throughout the community, covering about 37 per cent of the occupied households in the Rotorua district.

On any normal day, Mr Quedley sits in on meetings and helps the police and the community by sending out information about burglaries or other crimes that are relevant to any particular neighbourhood.

He said it was positive that the group was based out of the police station, and police knew if they wanted to get information out to the community they could go to him to get it out to all the groups. It also gave him a better understanding of what was going on, he said.

"You can identify areas where there has been a rise in crime," said Mr Quedley.

"I offer suggestions when I see that we need to do something, whether it's the police who do it or community patrols."

Neighbourhood Support has been operating in Rotorua since 1995 and Mr Quedley said that relationship had been built on years of trust, especially on what was done with the information shared with them.

"There is some information that we are not allowed to pass on, so that trust relationship between the police and Neighbourhood Support has been going on for all those years and it continues to go on." He said they had a database that was used to send out e-alerts to a street's contact people. "Then they distribute it to the members of their group. It can be as simple as, 'There has been a group of burglaries in your area so be on the watch for anyone suspicious.'"

Mr Quedley said he kept note of each time there was an occurrence, and said data showed less crime in Neighbourhood Support areas.

"To be a member of the group, it's not a silver bullet that will cure everything but it increases the level of awareness in the area.

"It does reduce crime because people know what to look out for," Mr Quedley said.

He said the main benefit of Neighbourhood Support was making people aware of their own security, building community spirit, and getting neighbours to talk.

"We like the idea of people talking over the fence line so that they are actually face to face."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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