May the force be with ewe
Written by Police Media Centre
A new way to report rural crime and suspicious behaviour launches today, May the 4th, in Hurunui and Waimakariri.
Rural Lookout is a new Police app that enables people to log suspicious activity quickly and easily using a smartphone or via a website.
It is designed to capture incidents that often go unreported, such as illegal hunting, trespassing, drones, deliberate damage, theft of fuel and stock and other suspicious incidents.
Senior Constable Tony Maw says rural communities can be reluctant or slow to report incidents.
“The ‘number 8 wire’ attitude is strong in our communities,” says Tony. “People often deal with things themselves or think Police are too busy to bother, or they wait to tell us when they bump into us – but then it’s too late.
“By offering an alternative way to report incidents, that’s quick and convenient, hopefully we’ll see an increase in reporting, which will give us a clearer picture of what’s happening in our rural communities.”
All the information submitted via the app will be entered into the police National Intelligence Application and triaged as per normal. The app doesn’t replace 111 in emergencies, nor 105 online.
The launch of the Rural Lookout app is part of a two-year trial that aims to increase reporting and take a prevention approach to reducing rural crime. The project is being managed by the Prevention Development Team and is part of the Locks, Lights and Lines of Sight initiative.
As well as the app, the trial will utilise geospatial capability to create a rural crime dashboard for the trial area. All reported crime and suspicious activity will be mapped on the dashboard, including card data, NIA occurrences, Rural Lookout reports and CCTV camera locations.
Project Manager Lisa May says the ultimate goal is to reduce rural crime through targeted prevention measures – and there are dollars attached.
“We need as much data as possible to make good investment decisions” says Lisa.
“The first step is to increase reporting. Then, we’ll use geospatial analysis to identify trends and determine what crime prevention measures could be used and where.”
Tony says his communities are excited that the initiative is being trialed in their local area.
“It’s another way we can engage with our communities and partners – the District Mayors are really excited about the trial and so are our partner agencies. It’s taken quite a long time to get here, but the hard work’s been done and now we just have to get as many people as we can using the app.”
Mayor Marie Black, Hurunui says, “I just think this is an amazing opportunity to ensure that rural people are actively involved with preventing crime across their regions, across our district and the Hurunui.
We're a very far-flung district, so if we can connect the dots and keep our community safer, we're all better for it,” she says.
Mayor Dan Gordon, Waimakariri says, “I think it's a fantastic initiative and I know our rural communities who are particularly concerned around crime in their particular communities will certainly welcome it. I am delighted that we've got a trial here in both the Waimakariri and Hurunui Districts. I think it's an excellent initiative from the police, and I thank them for including our communities in this. We are obviously in support of seeing this here and making sure that crime is turned around in our rural communities, so anything that does that, we’re right behind, so delighted to be able to support this being rolled out,” he says.
PHOTO: Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon, Police Project Manager Lisa May, Hurunui Mayor Marie Black and Senior Constable Tony Maw checking out the app.