If Greg Canty does his new job well "there is going to be a huge spike in rural crime".

For the Levin man, a 15-year-long volunteer passion paid off last year when he was appointed to a national role with Community Patrol New Zealand.

Mr Canty volunteered with Levin Community Patrol years ago, driving the streets of Horowhenua, giving the police an extra set of eyes.

After more than a decade as a dedicated patrolman, he found himself looking for a job and was unexpectedly offered his dream role in the field of his passion.


Mr Canty is now the national rural crime prevention co-ordinator for Community Patrol New Zealand (CPNZ), spending one day a week at police national headquarters.

"If I am successful in my job there is going to be a huge spike in rural crime," he said.

"Not in the crime number itself, but farmers will start reporting the crime that currently goes unreported."

He said the new role has three prongs - getting rural communities to report crime,
education about rural road trauma around school buses and Civil Defence preparedness for our extreme rural communities.

He said Federated Farmers completed a survey over five years that found only 19 per cent of crimes were being reported.

"Rural crime numbers are huge, from theft of stock, beehives, quad bikes, and tampering with vehicles to fuel theft," he said.

"There has even been a spate down south of slashing the tyres on irrigators."

Yet much of it went unreported, he said.

"Rural stock theft is prevalent but reported stock theft isn't. I went to a seminar at Koputaroa Hall in October last year, and there were 53 farmers from Te Horo through to Himatangi. Every single one of them said they had stock stolen in the past 90 days, but only one sheep had been reported as missing."

Mr Canty said the second aspect, education about rural road trauma around school buses, involved talking with the Ministry of Education, school bus companies, and police.

"A lot of people don't understand that when a school bus is parked on the side of the road the maximum speed you can drive past it is 20km per hour," he said.

"There have been too many kids killed nationally, the road toll was bad enough last year, but there was a higher than usual number of kids killed or seriously injured while getting on or off school buses."

The third part of his new job was dealing with Civil Defence preparedness for extreme rural communities.

He said communities that are based three hours to the nearest shop, such as those situated on South Island high country stations, could be waiting between two and three weeks before help arrives in any emergency, so his role would be preparing them for that eventuality.

"The job should be interesting and varied. I've only been in the role for six weeks, but I love it already," he said.

"CPNZ is something that I am passionate about. It has 162 patrols in the country with more than 6000 patrollers that volunteer their time and there are only four paid staff," he said,

"To be one of those, I am fairly proud of that."