A designated team of police are working to prevent opportunist thieves targeting homes in the lead-up to Christmas - the latest being the theft of a Whangarei family's car.
Mum-of-two Pritrice Campbell says the theft was more than just an expensive inconvenience. She also has to comfort her terrified daughter.
The family's morning routine was disrupted yesterday when Mrs Campbell discovered their WRX Subaru had been stolen in the night from where it was parked on the driveway, outside her bedroom window in Morningside.
Inside was baby gear including a car seat, a booster seat, nappy bag and clothes.
The car was locked, an alarm set and it had an immobiliser activated. Police are still investigating the theft.
The drama left her 5-year-old daughter Amea distraught, Mrs Campbell said.
"She bawled her eyes out the whole way to school. She is really scared they will come back and come in to the house while she's asleep."
Mrs Campbell said the stress surrounding the theft has taken its toll on her family.
"My husband has had to take time off work and cancel appointments for work this morning to take us to Plunket to get replacement car seats," she said.
She estimates the excess on her insurance claim for the car and the belongings inside will reach $2000. Right before Christmas, she cannot begin to imagine how that will impact on her family's festive season, she said.
Police spokesman Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said a team of officers was focused on preventing opportunists targeting homes in the lead-up to Christmas.
"Don't leave anything like Christmas trees or presents near any windows or doors," he said.
He is urging people to be vigilant about locking all doors and windows.
"I know at this time of year when it is warm it is easy to leave windows and doors open at night, but my advice is to get security latches on windows."
Letterboxes must be monitored too, Mr Metcalfe said.
"The main thing is to report anything suspicious at all. It is much better to have us show up and it is nothing than to not report it at all," he said.