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Homes in safe hands - TheMoveChannel.com

(EMAILWIRE.COM, April 03, 2009 ) New Zealand - Vacant houses can be a magnet for squatters, vandals and thieves, so in a bid to combat this, a pilot scheme between police and Housing New Zealand has been launched in the country, in which ‘house guardians’ are assigned an empty property on a street near their house and given duties such as emptying the mailbox…

The scheme, which first launched in July last year, is aimed at protecting vacant property in New Zealand are waiting to be assigned to tenants.

The house guardians empty the mailbox each day, keep the property looking lived in and take take down descriptions of anyone seen loitering around the premises and record car registrations before passing them on to their Housing New Zealand tenant manager.

The neighbourhood is able to take ownership of their local area and, as the guardians work voluntarily, it creates a great sense of team spirit and neighbourly bonding.

This initiative has already brought a huge drop in crime and vandalism in Manurewa, which is the town in which is being trialled first.

New schemes are often trialled first in the New Zealand market due to its manageable size and are then rolled out to other countries if successful.

Senior Sergeant Neil Fisher of Manurewa says up to 40 per cent of vacant houses in the area had been vandalised last July. That figure dropped to just six per cent in November.

“We get people stealing copper systems, water systems - like taps - and young people breaking into the houses and tagging inside. All that’s been reduced, it’s great,” he added.

Vandalism to vacant homes was attracting more serious crime so it was essential to nip it in the bud.

The drop in the number of houses being vandalised means the cost of repairing them - once around £20,000 - has also dropped to around £400.

Mr Fisher said there were plans to expand the programme into the wider community.

For more information on properties in New Zealand and the market in general, please visit http://new-zealand.themovechannel.com/


Notes to editors:

TheMoveChannel.com is a property website that was founded in 1999 as an online resource for buying, selling and learning about property. It now receives as many as 300,000 visits per month and advertises over 50,000 properties in nearly 90 countries, which are listed by over 500 partner organisations.

For further information as well as images and interview possibilities, please contact:

Dan Johnson
Managing Director
0207 952 7650

Dan Johnson
020 7952 7650

Source: EmailWire.com

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