Police investigate suburban dwelling burglaries

By Kristin Edge

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Senior Sergeant John Fagan.
Senior Sergeant John Fagan.

A police pledge to attend all dwelling burglaries has come under sharp focus after a string of burglaries in Whangarei.

Over a two-week period this month there were 11 burglaries reported to police in the Kensington, Regent and Otangarei suburbs.

Whangarei police confirmed six of the 11 burglaries had been of dwellings and officers had attended.

Police said what was noticeable was five of those burglaries happened in Churchill St, Cairnfield Rd and Mains St in close proximity and mostly during the day by thieves looking for an easy target.

Last month a senior Northland officer pledged police would turn up and investigate a home burglary following an announcement by Police Minister Judith Collins that home burglaries would be treated as priority offences and police would try to attend all calls from now on.

Whangarei police area prevention manager Senior Sergeant John Fagan said the focus for police was dwelling burglaries where an offender had entered someone's home.

"These are the type of burglaries where we will be putting our efforts into around attending the scene and obtaining forensic evidence to link an offender to the crime," Mr Fagan said.

"These appear to be opportunistic offenders, targeting items that are easy to access, aren't secured and take little effort to obtain. The majority of the burglaries did not result in a dwelling being entered but property being stolen from a yard, deck area or a driveway."

Mr Fagan said residents in the affected areas had been sent letters informing them there had been a rise in burglary offending in their neighbourhood. The letters provided information on how residents could keep their property safe, and recommended that all sheds and garages were locked, vehicles secured and no valuable items left in them, especially overnight.

During the day, windows to houses should be closed, or secured to prevent entry, and if residents saw anything suspicious or out of character for their neighbourhood they should call 111 straight away.

"We would rather come and stop a burglary before it happens than have to investigate one," Mr Fagan said.

He said Northland Police were constantly reviewing how they could provide the best service to the community and had added an extra officer to their Scene of Crime Team to give more coverage and get to burglaries in a timely manner in light of the new commitment.

"Even prior to the new burglary attendance directive Northland Police prioritised offending where it was obvious that forensic evidence may be present, allowing us to provide reassurance to our victims, provide good prevention advice so they don't become re-victimised by further offending."

- Northern Advocate

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