Community reacts to burglaries

Wednesday August 22, 2018 Written by Published in Crime

A community meeting called last Thursday amongst residents of the Vaimaanga, Avaavaroa and Turoa areas to discuss possible strategies to the rising number of burglaries in the area has generated a positive response, says resident Tina Newport.


Along with representatives from the Cook Islands Police Service, around 40 members of the community were present at the meeting, which was called after the area became a common target for thieves.

Nadine Newnham said the community had started to rally together on the back of burglaries at the homes and businesses of pensioners.

“When the elderly and pensioners started being targeted I think many of us thought it was time to act and start coming up with strategies,” said Newnham.

John Strickland from the Cook Islands Police was present at the meeting and Tina Newport said his presence was a big positive.

“Of course we had a couple of people raise the issue of calling the police regarding issues like this and they not turn up, but they were really good about it, they discussed their limited resources and were really open to our concerns and ideas on how to combat this issue,” said Newport.

One of the major outcomes of the meeting was the setting up of a community watch, similar to the current set-up in neighbouring Titikaveka.

“We had Big John from the Titikaveka watch at the meeting and he was able to talk about what their set-up is and what we can do in organising something similar here in Vaimaanga,” said Newport.

“We had probably 20 or so males who expressed they were keen to sign up and be a part of a community watch, which is of course pleasing,” she added.

Alongside the creation of a neighbourhood watch, a new community flyer was tabled to be created and distributed to homes, businesses and accommodation in the village, detailing what to do and who to call if you see something suspicious.

Newnham said one of the simple ways to help stop the rising number of thefts and burglaries is to get to know your neighbours.

“It certainly isn’t as easy as it was years ago,” she acknowledged however.

“Nowadays you have not just accommodation but also contract workers who come in and stay, so we have a constant tide of people coming and going.

“But it is definitely a need to know who lives around you so you can speak up if something happens.”

Newnham said there is no meeting planned to follow last week’s, but added that now is the time for taking action.

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