Burglary no longer a seasonal crime

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ON THE CASE: Senior Constable Pehi Potaka says school burglaries are a particular bugbear. PHOTO FILE
ON THE CASE: Senior Constable Pehi Potaka says school burglaries are a particular bugbear. PHOTO FILE

Burglaries used to be seasonal - but are now constant throughout the year, according to Senior Constable Pehi Potaka.
The Tactical Crime Unit investigator talks to Roger Moroney.

Are there people out there who basically see burglary as the prime way to make an income - and are constantly out looking for a target or two?
In short, yes. There are also people who are opportunist and if an opportunity presents itself then they will take it, so the answer really is don't present the opportunity. Some of the things that you could do are, lock your goods away. Don't leave tools lying around that could be used to gain entry to your home or shed.

Is it right that if one burglar is caught several more cases can also be solved - they are recidivist offenders?
Unless the evidence says otherwise police will always look to interview a burglar to obtain a confession and obtain a reason for offending. We then try and get details of other offending from them.

No burglary is good but are there some that really test the police emotions, like elderly folk targeted or schools getting hit?
Targeting schools always gets me as does the theft of family heirlooms. Night time burglaries of residential homes with people asleep inside is of huge concern.

How major a role can the community play in helping the police with burglary prevention - what can people do to help fight this?
First and foremost police need to know what is going on. Any suspicious activity should be reported to police at the time by phoning 111. Information about illegal activities, selling of drugs, selling or storing of property or the like can be made simply by phoning the police station. You could utilise the Crimestoppers phone 0800 555 111 for this purpose. If you are a victim of a crime, quite simply you need to report it. I'm well aware that some people don't bother reporting burglaries due to perceived hassle, or they are unable to get insurance anyway. We actually want to know about it as it will allow us to establish trends and plan to deal with them. We may locate stolen items, but if there is no burglary report we may have no option but to leave them where we find them. None of us like that! Naming and recording serial details on of all tools and electronic goods is a must. A great place to store details of your valuables online for free is ww.snap.org.nz. If you are the victim of a burglary you will need to provide police a detailed list of stolen property along with serial numbers. If we locate your property in someone's possession then we can at least hold them to account.
Burglaries of residential homes generally occur weekdays from 8am to 5pm while everyone is at work or school. Clear evidence of someone being home, alarms, door and window locks and noisy dogs big or small are great deterrents. The establishment of neighbourhood watch groups and clear signage of that fact, the dogs, and alarms (even if you don't have them) is another great deterrent. Burglaries of commercial properties in the main is a night time or weekend occurrence. Again the advertising of alarms, CCTV with good lighting is helpful in preventing burglaries.

Burglary statistics show a rise of late - can it become a seasonal thing - can summer be worse (when people are away or out longer) or is it pretty well even all year around?
Burglaries did have a season which usually coincided with the end of seasonal work. When people were out of work burglaries would increase. Nowadays however, it appears to be constant throughout the year.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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