Western Bay, New Zealand
As thousands of Western Bay households sign up to neighbourhood support groups, the region is set to become the first to use GIS to help combat crime.
Tauranga police Constable Steve Campbell and Western Bay of Plenty Neighbourhood Support secretary Julia Kleve are working to develop a web-based database of all households belonging to neighbourhood support groups. This secure database will be used to send emails informing residents about crime or suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood. The database could also be used in partnership with Civil Defence to keep residents regularly updated in the event of a disaster.
An email alert system is already working well in Papamoa, where neighbourhood support area co-ordinator Lorraine Stevens sends out weekly emails to more than 2000 households. By the end of the year, Mr Campbell said police and neighbourhood support co-ordinators hoped to have the database fed into a GIS mapping system which stores, analyses and presents data linked to a geographical location.
This system will map each of the households where members of neighbourhood support groups live. If a crime occurs, the details can then be fed into the GIS system so the location of the crimes can also be marked on the map. As the number of neighbourhood support groups grow, more volunteers are needed to fill the roles of area and street co-ordinators.