Crimestoppers launches rural campaign

Crime prevention advocate Crimestoppers is launching a new campaign aimed at giving rural communities greater confidence to speak up about suspicious or criminal activity.

The campaign, ‘Shut the gate on rural crime’, is supported by New Zealand’s leading rural insurer FMG and New Zealand Post. It will see rural households given some tools to reduce crime in the form of “It’s your call” stickers to place around their properties.

Rural communities will begin receiving the material this week.

Crimestoppers chairman John Perham – a rural resident himself – says the campaign encourages people to report suspicious activity with the confidence that their call will be totally anonymous.

“While on the whole, rural people are happy to speak directly to Police, there are some occasions when they might not feel able to because of family connections or fear about the probable consequences.

“In those situations, Crimestoppers offers a simple, effective way to do something positive to improve safety in their community without having to reveal their identity.

“Every call could potentially hold valuable information, which we provide to Police to help them put together the bigger picture of what’s going on. Whether it’s stock or machinery being stolen or sold too cheaply or odd movements of people around an isolated area, every contribution helps to fill in the gaps.”

Mr Perham says calling Crimestoppers is an easy way rural people can help detect criminals and prevent crime.

Around 35% of all calls to Crimestoppers’ free phone 0800 555111 number come from rural areas. Currently, the organisation receives around 1500 calls and secure online reports a month and this number has been steadily increasing each month since Crimestoppers started in late 2009.

General Manager of Advice & Insurance for FMG, Conrad Wilkshire, says the campaign gives people in rural communities a chance to play an active and important role in helping to create a safer rural community for everyone.

“There are lots of proactive steps farmers are already taking, such as installing security cameras and forming Neighbourhood Support groups.  The Crimestoppers campaign supports this great work, and the work being done by Police, and is another tool to help protect rural communities from the financial loss, disruption and invasion of privacy that crime causes.”

Assistant Police Commissioner Grant Nicholls says Police are backing the campaign.

“If people have information on crime or suspicious activity our preference is always for them to talk to the Police first, but if for whatever reason they don’t want to do that, we’re encouraging them to pass on what they know to Crimestoppers.”

To contact Crimestoppers anonymously, call 0800 555 111 or use the secure online form at www.crimestoppers-nz.org