Neighbours best bet
A Cannons Creek man has had the opportunity to practice what he preaches just three months after beginning work as a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator.
Matthew Samuela, a Porirua neighbourhood watch police liaison, employed his own advice when he saw his neighbour’s home being burgled on September 11. He had seen a couple of young teenagers walking towards the property, and recognised them immediately as local troublemakers.
‘‘I saw these idiots coming up. I knew them,’’ he says.
A few minutes later he checked the washing on his clothesline as an excuse to see what was happening next door, when suddenly the neighbour’s alarm went off.
‘‘When the alarm went off, well my instincts went ‘I know something’s going on’.’’
The boys tried to flee over the fence into Mr Samuela’s garden, and from their empty hands it was clear they hadn’t managed the break-in. Mr Samuela immediately rang 111 and was able to give a good description of the boys, who were later found by police.
Neighbours should not be shy about calling police about suspicious events, no matter how small. Many people are reluctant to ‘‘ bother’’ police, Mr Samuela says.
‘‘ Bother the police. That’s what their job is,’’ he urges. ‘‘Call for any blinking reason.’’
Another common mistake is calling police about suspicious activity hours or days after it happens.
‘‘Neighbours might have seen it but report it too late. The best information is when you’re right on the spot,’’ Mr Samuela says.
While an alarm system helped in this case, Mr Samuela acknowledges many locals can’t afford security, and says neighbourhood support can be just as effective.
Burglar buster: Neighbourhood watch co-ordinator Matthew Samuela got to put his good advice to the test when his neighbour’s house was burgled recently.