Thomas Wynne is leading the charge to set up the organisation and with instances of thefts, burglaries and other serious crimes increasing, he says the time has come for the island’s communities to work to their strengths.
“We need to look at what we have and use those strengths, rather than create something new or import something to do the job. I always think in communities: communities are the answer.
“We have instead resorted to criticising the people who should have been responsible - police, the government, and so the end result is always the same. Nothing changes.
“In the meantime people are sick to death of it. They’ve just had enough, it’s happening too often but it’s also happening with families and people that we know.”
Wynne says people also need to realise that prison isn’t the answer to solving the country’s crime problem.
“We know that locking people up doesn’t work and so if the police can’t be everywhere, if they lack the resources, then making comments like, ‘what are the cops doing’, ‘throw them in jail’ etc, are pointless.
“Ultimately, I think it is the community’s job to look after the community.”
Going out, meeting and starting a dialogue with your immediate neighbours is a great place to start, Wynne, a trained counsellor says.
“The simple act of getting to know our neighbours, meeting with the people in our community and having some cohesion with the police: these are all the tools we need.”
Wynne stresses, however that that having a neighbourhood watch doesn’t involve sending a group of people out on patrols.
“It’s not a patrol group or a vigilante group, its actually about putting the responsibility on ourselves to make the changes.
“If we know that doesn’t work; don’t do it.”
Wynne said he has already started talking to community leaders in Puaikura to get a meeting underway, hopefully within the next couple of weeks.