Safety idea behind scheme

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An initiative was launched this week in Alexandra that aims to make it easier for local communities to stay safe.

The idea, called Street Contact, is a project run by Alexandra-Clyde Neighbourhood Support.

Chairwoman Ruth McNamara said the initiative was a nationwide first for the organisation.

A street contact was a person who looked after about 10 to 15 households and was able to maintain connections and hold information that could help in an emergency.

Street contacts would be identified by a label on their letterbox.

They would introduce themselves to their neighbours, and they would be a point of contact for the neighbourhood.

If people wished, they could share information that would be helpful in emergency situations e.g. if they had useful skills, had mobility issues or would require extra assistance, she said.

This information would be kept confidential, but would enable street contacts to understand what help might be available or needed for their community.

Senior Sergeant Clint Wright, of Alexandra, said street contacts could assist being “eyes and ears”.

“We are police with the consent of the community, and they are a vital cog of us being successful.”

If someone was seen being suspicious, and the community knew there was a street contact close by, they could pass information on to that person which would then be shared with police, he said.

“If you’ve got a street contact that someone is comfortable coming to see, then the information sharing can happen.”

Mrs McNamara said with Neighbours Day Aotearoa beginning March 22 and continuing until the end of the month, she encouraged people to get in touch if they were interested in finding out more about becoming a street contact.

For details, phone (03) 448-7619 or (03) 449-2703 or email ruthvmcnamara@gmail.com