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Issue No. 381 June 2014

Not in our community

A campaign against gangs and drug dealing in one of Christchurch’s most vulnerable neighbourhoods has reduced recorded crime by nearly one-third, given local people their community back – and scooped a national award.

A child-friendly obstacle course was one of the attractions at an NPT-organised Phillipstown community day out.

The Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) deployed to Phillipstown in 2011 identified an active drug trade centred on Olliviers Road as driving crime, particularly burglary.

With intelligence support they shut down drug-dealing houses and worked with landlords to evict organised crime elements while engaging with locals to transform the area.

Over 12 to 14 months, 16 warrants were executed at 15 drug-dealing addresses and 22 people were charged. Large quantities of stolen property were recovered.

Crime in Phillipstown has fallen 28 percent since 2010, including a 41 percent fall in burglary. The project – entitled Not in our Community - won this year’s national Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) Award.

“We knew we had a burglary problem but if we’d just dealt with burglary we wouldn’t have addressed the underlying cause,” says NPT leader Sergeant Todd Webley.

“The intel section, particularly Jamie Ball, did excellent work to help us understand what was going on.”

Alongside enforcement, the NPT organised community events, established Neighbourhood Support groups and leafleted 1500 local households. A community safety panel was launched to give feedback and discuss issues.

Todd says the fall in crime means 215 fewer victims in 2013. In a recent survey of Olliviers Road residents, 90 percent said they felt safe. “Before, they wouldn’t even walk down the street,” he says.

 

Christchurch Metro Area Commander Andy McGregor, Sergeant Todd Webley and Jamie Ball with the POP trophy.
Up there with the best

The POP Awards, run in New Zealand for the first time last year, celebrate excellence in skills supporting long-term and sustainable crime prevention and reduction.

The other 2014 finalists were from Waitemata, where interventions reduced the activities of two prolifically-offending families; Tasman, where prevention and enforcement in Nelson reduced alcohol-related offending; and Wellington, where police worked with stakeholders to cut CBD crime.

In the final at PNHQ in April the external judges said the standard of all shortlisted projects compared very favourably with the best of international examples.


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