Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Local Crime Watch calls for volunteers

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For close to two decades the BCWP has been helping to keep the local East Auckland community safe by patrolling the streets.

For close to two decades, the Botany Crime Watch Patrol (BCWP) has been helping to keep the east Auckland community safe.

The community watchdog can often be found patrolling the streets checking on properties and identifying suspicious behaviour, acting as the eyes and ears to assist Counties Manukau Police.

BCWP relies heavily on volunteers and is calling for more people in the community to join the patrol. Patrollers currently do morning, afternoon and evening patrols for two to three hours at a time from two marked vehicles. BCWP is also looking to revive its foot patrols, which involve checking on parked vehicles and educating people on what they need to do to secure them.

BCWP operations manager Margaret Westwood says, “We are very fortunate to have people who volunteer their time to support the community through BCWP, some of whom have been with us for more than 10 years. Unfortunately, during Covid we had several volunteers leave the patrol and we now are calling for more people to join us.

“Crime prevention is a big part of what we do, including conducting regular car and home security checks to educate people about what they need to know to secure their property.

“We are grateful to Botany Town Centre for providing a space at the centre where we can grow our base and continue to keep the community safe.”

Botany Town Centre manager Kerrie Hughes says BCWP offers an amazing service to the community. “They are part of our fabric, having been at the centre since 2006, and the work they do in the East Auckland community is to be applauded.”

The BCWP was established in 2004, with the first patrollers meeting at the Z service station across the road from Botany Town Centre. In 2006, it found a home at the centre and since then its services have been well used by the community. A big issue that patrollers have come across in the wider area is vehicles not being properly secured.

No day is the same, which makes volunteering so rewarding, says Westwood. “We once found a wallet outside the car park and with the help of Facebook managed to find the owner. She didn’t live in the area and was attending a conference in east Auckland when she misplaced it. When we handed her wallet back, she was in tears. She kindly brought us chocolates and was very grateful.

“We are out here trying to make a difference and make where you live and work a safe place. We all need to play our part, as some of us make it way too easy for criminals.”

  • If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a patroller, visit www.crimewatchpatrols.co.nz or visit BCWP at Botany Town Centre (in the carpark near the food court entrance) to meet Margaret in person or via email margaret.westwood@botanycwp.co.nz and phone 021 324 126.

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