Burglaries most likely in daytime

By APN News & Media

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Daytime on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday is when Bay of Plenty residents are most at risk of being burgled, according to police intelligence.


Police say the war against burglars is slowly being won but the task would be much easier if residents took simple steps to protect themselves.


Less than half of all property crime cases in the region are solved, with unsecured buildings and vehicles the biggest issue for police.


In all, the Bay of Plenty's burglary statistics are roughly the same as other regions.


A total 5623 burglaries were reported last year - just under 20 per cent of them solved - while the 11,083 cases of theft had a slightly better resolution rate at just over 30 per cent.


But the most important figure remained unclear - what number of these could have been prevented had these homes been locked.


Such simple measures could not be encouraged enough, said Senior Sergeant Carolyn Crawford-Smith, head of intelligence at Tauranga police station.


"The most common point of entry for burglars is an insecure premises."


In the Western Bay of Plenty, around 60 per cent of all car thefts were from vehicles that had been left unsecured.


For homes in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty, the risk of being burgled is greatest between 9am and 3pm, typically on a Tuesday, Friday or Saturday.


Ms Crawford-Smith said burglars breaking into homes chose these hours as families were at work and school on weekdays, and at sports games and trips on Saturdays.


It was not known why Tuesdays and Fridays statistically rated more highly than other weekdays.


Night-time on weekends remained the busiest time for burglars hitting commercial premises.


At a rate of 67 per cent, residences in Tauranga, Te Puke, Katikati and other urban areas are by far the largest targets for burglars in the area, followed by commercial buildings, sheds and rural houses.


Thieves raided homes and businesses more than 1600 times in the Western Bay of Plenty last year, more than 2000 times in neighbouring Rotorua, more than 1000 times in Whakatane and nearly 900 times in Taupo.


They targeted electronic goods - flatscreen televisions, laptops, cellphones and video games - as well as cash and jewellery, much of it bound for the black market.


Burglary hauls from Rotorua houses left victims with an average insurance claim of $5061 - higher than the average for most New Zealand cities, including Hamilton, Christchurch and Wellington.


In Whakatane and Tauranga, the average claim for a burglary was around $3200, and nearly $1800 for a car theft.


Tauranga accountant Angela Thomas, whose new website Stole Me aims to reunite people with their stolen property, said listings from the Bay of Plenty were in line with other regions.


"A point of significance, however, not only for the Bay of Plenty but nationwide at the moment, is that there are repeatedly reports of police finding it difficult to repatriate stolen property to their rightful owners for a number of reasons," Ms Thomas said.


"Victims need to let people know they have had their items stolen."


Ms Crawford-Smith also recommended getting quality locks, locking away tools and ladders that could be used in break-ins, and not hiding spare keys on the section, instead giving them to a trusted neighbour.


She is also a big advocate of Operation Snap - another website where people can record the serial number, make and model of their electronic goods.


A driver licence number printed on a set of tools, rather than a dash of red paint, could make all the difference when it came to recovering stolen property, she said.


In light of the message going unheeded too often, police have helped drive a positive downward trend in property crime across the Bay of Plenty over the last five years.


In a major blow against burglars, a sprawling summer operation uncovered a large amount of stolen property, including three stolen vehicles, and culminated in a raft of charges against 52 people.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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