Kids help keep suburbs safe
Young eyes will be keeping a lookout for their neighbourhood thanks to an initiative being run in schools by Porirua police.
Last week saw the ‘‘culmination day’’ of the Junior Neighbourhood Support (JNS) programme at Holy Family School, where year 4, 5 and 6 pupils were encouraged to take a role in helping to keep their streets safe.
Mathew Samuela from the Cannons Creek Neighbourhood Policing Team says JNS has been run with much success in Canterbury, receiving positive responses from children, teachers and parents, particularly after the earthquakes.
‘‘It’s about being aware of what’s happening in your neighbourhood, getting to know the people who live next to you, and reporting anything they think is unsafe. That really struck home after the quakes, realising who you did and didn’t know in your own street.’’
Along with a survey conducted concurrently with their parents, chil- dren were asked what they liked and disliked about where they live. Noise from parties and cars and litter topped their dislikes, while friends, playgrounds and good neighbours were firmly ‘‘likes’’.
Mr Samuela and his team ran three sessions over three weeks with the Holy Family students, which finished on March 29 with presentations of certificates from KapitiMana police area commander John Price.
Windley School is next for JNS, with four more schools to follow.
Holy Family’s principal Karl Vasau says it is important people realise ‘‘home’’ does not stop at your front gate. ‘‘It’s great, the kids are taking ownership of their neighbourhood. We’ve [the school] been burgled and tagged and the students know the tags and a lot about what is going on around their streets. The parents are telling me the kids are more interested in what’s going on so I can’t speak enough about what Mat and the other neighbourhood support guys are doing.’’
Feel safe: Mathew Samuela from the Cannons Creek Neighbourhood Policing Team with Holy Family School students, clockwise from bottom left, Lekuefa Liai, Thomas Tago, Ruby Ripley and Brigidine Miti and one of the JNS posters.