In 1979 Neighbourhood Watch was introduced into New Zealand by the Police as a Crime Prevention initiative. It concentrated on the prevention of two type of crimes – household burglary and motor vehicle theft.
In June 1983 in the suburb of St Marys Bay, Auckland, a woman was viciously attacked in her own home by an intruder. Her screams for help fell on deaf ears in a crowded neighbourhood. Good neighbours had not interfered in what they considered was just a case of domestic violence. When the truth of this vicious attack became known, the community came together, not just concerned about dishonesty offences, but increasing violence including domestic violence.
Well attended meetings resulted in the establishment of a Neighbourhood Support scheme. Over forty street coordinators were appointed. Each street worked out methods of protection which varied from street to street, but their level of support for each other was developed beyond the initial purpose of property protection. They obtained commercial sponsorship and were able to challenge the depth of the Police initiated Watch Group.
Their objectives were:
- To create caring homes and neighbourhoods
- To make sure neighbours know each other
- To create telephone contacts and networks
- To share information about crime and community activities
- To answer cries for help
- To arrange self defence classes and first aid classes
- To give practical advice on making homes safe
- To motivate the community
- To lower crime rates
- To build better community and Police relations
- This concept has been maintained in this area.
The inaugural meeting of Pakuranga Bucklands Beach Neighbourhood Support was held on 9th March 1987. The area (Pakuranga, Bucklands Beach, Burswood, Highland Park, and Murvale) has been split up into 11 areas with the intent of having an Area Coordinator in each. These area coordinators attend a monthly meeting, and involved in setting up new groups within the area.
By 2014 the group has grown to include 93 street Groups with a few more being added each month.
The committee has also been supporting the Howick Crime Patrol team’s ‘Safer Plates’ project, the Police ‘Lock it or lose it’ promotion to reduce car thefts and burglaries, Midnight Madness, and the Howick Santa Parade. .