Make it hard for burglars: police

By Brendan Manning


Many centres are bracing for a spike in summer holiday burglaries but Tauranga police say local burglars usually target homes during winter.

Tauranga police Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair said police were not expecting a spike in summer burglaries.

"We have spikes at other times of the year. Seasonally, our spike is usually around July because it gets dark early."

There were 150 burglaries reported in Western Bay of Plenty in October, just up on 144 for the same time last year.

"The fact that it's lighter and there are more people coming into the area, we have more capable guardians out there who keep an eye out for suspicious things, which is what we want people to do," Mr Wright-St Clair said.

Nationally, more than 57,000 burglaries were committed during the last financial year of which fewer than 9000 were resolved by police.

On Saturday, thieves forced their way into a Waihi Beach home where they stole two Christmas presents.

National prevention manager Superintendent Bruce Bird said with many people about to head away on Christmas holidays, now was the time to protect your property.

"Keeping your home and your possessions safe can make all the difference between being a victim of a burglary or not."

Mr Bird said a burglar would take any opportunity to get into your home - so it was best not to present them with a chance.

Some burglars were opportunistic and saw an unsecured window or gate and took a chance, but many offenders were put off by houses which looked secure and lived in.

For those heading away for the holidays, getting a neighbour or a friend to turn a light on at night and clear your letterbox would help make the home look occupied, Mr Bird said.

People with newspaper subscriptions should cancel them for the duration of their trip.

"If a burglar thinks you're at home they are less likely to attempt a break-in."

Getting to know your neighbours better, installing a burglar alarm and even placing a "Beware of the dog" sign on your property could also deter burglars.

Don't leave keys hidden in the garden either, as burglars know all the places to look, Mr Bird said.

Recording the serial numbers of expensive items on the police community partnership website, Operation SNAP, also discouraged criminals from taking your property and meant a better chance of catching criminals if they handled or on-sold identifiable goods.

"If you see an unusual vehicle in your street or you see anyone acting suspiciously, don't hesitate to call police," Mr Bird said.

"You could be the difference between your neighbours becoming the victim of a burglary or not."

University of Canterbury criminologist Professor Greg Newbold said a surge in summer crime should be expected between Christmas and New Year.

There tended to be a spike in burglaries as people left their homes to go away.

"There's always a rise in property crime in holiday areas such as motor camps, where expensive equipment such as boats, dive gear and fishing gear can be left lying around tent sites," he said.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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