School crime initiative kicks off
A new initiative by Counties Manukau Police aims to make schools and their surrounding communities safer.
The School Watch operation has just rolled out, with police strengthening relationships with school communities in response to burglaries of education facilities across Counties Manukau.
Senior Sergeant Jono Chappell says around this time of year police see a spike in offences on school property.
‘‘As part of the initiative we’re conducting area canvases around schools in Counties Manukau.
‘‘We’re going door to door asking the public about whether or not they’ve ever seen any suspicious activity in and around the school,’’ he says.
‘‘We’re asking people to be our eyes and ears on every corner, reporting things so we can respond effectively.’’
Police are encouraging people to call 111, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, to report any undesirable activities.
‘‘If it doesn’t look right we’d rather you give us a call and let us investigate, rather than doing nothing about it and something happening,’’ Chappell says.
‘‘A lot of the time the public can let things go a bit and think it’s just kids playing or whatnot.
‘‘We’re interested in knowing about that activity because what may seem pretty innocuous on the face of it could essentially be them damaging school property or breaking into it.’’
Chappell says damage caused to schools every year costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in terms of items stolen or wrecked.
‘‘The most important thing is the lost time for students. It can be quite disruptive for them if they show up at school and notice their property is missing or they can’t take the appropriate classes.’’
Inspector Simon Walker says a current issue at schools in the district is the theft of speakers.
‘‘Any information from the community we can get on where those speakers are going would be good. Also awareness from families of if their children are turning up with these speakers attached to their bikes, or any property they shouldn’t have, to question it and contact us.’’
Chappell says the initial rollout of School Watch received a fantastic response.
‘‘The community is extremely engaged and willing to help. They’re also really keen and enthusiastic in terms of starting up Neighbourhood Watch.’’
Senior Sergeant Jono Chappell and youth and communities manager Inspector Simon Walker.