Three shorts blast of an air horn could become the signal Kaitaia residents use to alert others to something criminal in their neighbourhood.

The new crime fighting method is the brainwave of local man Matt Hobman and was sparked after a neighbour expressed concern about the safety of her grandmother.

Holman suggested the young woman get her nana an air horn, like those used to start sporting events, and that if she ever had any concerns she should give three blasts with it.

"I told that if I heard it I'd be around there in a flash," Hobman said.


And now the idea has blasted off.

Police are aware of the community initiative but say 111 was always preferable when anyone felt unsafe or was in an emergency.

Hunting and Fishing in Kaitaia has discounted the horns, from $40 to $22, and it seems their popularity has meant it's hard to keep up with demand.

Last Friday John Hunter said an order of 50 air horns had arrived and there was a waiting list of 30. People in Kaikohe and Kerikeri were keen to get them too.

On Thursday, a community meeting in the car park outside Hunting and Fishing Kaitaia at 5pm will help those keen on using the air horns and develop a protocol.

Hunter said ultimately the air horns are about deterrence and piece of mind.

"Hopefully nobody will have to use them because the potential criminals know that this will draw attention to them."

Holman, who would run the meeting, said it was about the community taking back the streets.


"If you see someone who's up to no good then three blasts of the horn will alert the neighbours, who will look out for someone running or getting away. It will make the thief's presence known, and if they are on foot then maybe they can be tracked back to their home. Then phone the police."

It was nothing to do with vigilantism, he added, but about neighbours looking out for each other, as they once did.

And it was about helping the police, who had more than enough on their plate, to do their job on behalf of the community.

The idea had taken on a life of its own, he added, and would hopefully reduce crime and help make a lot of people feel safer in their own homes.

"All it needs is for lots of good people to take this passive-aggressive approach to fixing our problems," Hobman said.

Mid and Far North police area commander Inspector Riki Whiu said he supported any initiatives the community came up with that improved safety, as long as police were called sooner rather than later.


"Calling 111 is always a priority especially if someone is in danger," Whiu said.