COMMUNITY buy-in for Neighbourhood Support in Manawatu continues to “tick over” with 23 percent of the district’s population actively involved in the movement.
Manawatu District Neighbourhood Support Co-ordinator, Allan Muntz, said the current figure represented a steady ongoing rise in interest from rural and urban communities over the past two years and compared more than favourably with the national average of nine percent.
Latest figures also showed that the number of district households involved had grown by 500 since 2009 to 2777, while groups had risen to 346 and there were now 61 businesses (outside the Feilding CBD) on board.
Mr Muntz said the biggest growth had been with email addresses, now totalling 1231, which allowed “alerts” to be sent out around the district.
“The police sometimes want a specific crime problem sent out and the email tree has helped in getting that information to the community really quickly.”
Though Mr Muntz has been co-ordinator for more than four years, he is still on a “learning curve”, and was grateful for some handy hints he received at a recent conference on how to deal with volunteers.
“We always have to see how we can tap into people and make them feel part of the community.”
He had never experienced any negative reaction regarding Neighbourhood Support, but said some people were reluctant to get involved because of difficulties with neighbours.
Mr Muntz’s suggestions for those planning to go on holiday this Christmas-New Year season was to let trustworthy neighbours know their plans and to never leave their house in such a way that it could be deemed to be empty.
“The holiday season is one everyone should enjoy, and if the preparation is done properly, then we should be able to come home and not face any problems.”
Mr Muntz was grateful for ongoing funding support from the Manawatu District Council, and various trusts and charities, as well as the close working relationship with Feilding police.
“We certainly couldn’t do the job without the police’s help and resources.”
Senior Sergeant Nigel Allan, officer in charge of Feilding police, said the work of Neighbourhood Support was important and in helping to promote community safety.
“There has been a significant reduction in recorded crime in the district over the last three to four years, while at the same time there has been a huge increase in the number of households getting involved in Neighbourhood Support.
“I am very confident there is a correlation between these two things,” he said.