Neigh­bours best bet

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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