Burglary statistics in the Western Bay may be coming down but it remains one of the hardest crimes to solve and police need the public's help, says the district's top cop.
Newly released 2013 crime figures show the number of unlawful entry, burglary and breaking and entering cases had fallen by 19.1 per cent on the previous year.
There were 1333 burglaries last year compared to 1647 in 2012 - the highest number of break-ins in the Bay of Plenty region.
Western Bay police area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said police were doing everything possible to prevent offences happening but burglary was one of the hardest crimes to solve, and along with theft from cars, had a huge impact on communities.
"People have a fair idea of what is going on in their street, and if they see anything suspicious or hear about any criminal activity they can help solve the crime by calling police straight away."
Mr Paxton said Neighbourhood Support groups were a crucial link between the community and police in the fight to prevent crime and he encouraged more residents to sign up.
Papamoa Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Lorraine Stevens said about half, or 4400 households, in the area were now members of the Neighbourhood Support.
"I think it has made a huge difference in helping to bring down the area's crime statistics. But I do think if people take more responsibility for themselves in terms of securing their homes and personal property it would really help to reduce the crime figures even further," she said.
"People are often leave themselves open to becoming victims when they leave their windows or doors unlocked.
"Some people are quite blase about it.
"Even leaving windows slightly ajar is an open invitation to would-be burglars," she said.
Mrs Stevens said a substantial number of thefts from cars also happened when vehicles were left unlocked in the householder's driveway.
Merivale Community Centre manager John Fletcher said in the last six months there had been an increased interest in people wanting to join Neighbourhood Support groups in the area.
Mr Fletcher said there was now a number of formal and informal support groups working in the area, which not only helped to prevent and reduce crime but ultimately impacted on how people felt about their community.
In the past 18 months a centre worker had been canvassing residents about their needs, and overwhelmingly the main feedback was a desire to get to know their neighbours better, he said.