Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Prison alone won't deter crims, says break-in victim

Security cameras capture the latest burglar breaking into a family's house. It was the fifth time the family had been burgled in three-and-a-half years.
Security cameras capture the latest burglar breaking into a family's house. It was the fifth time the family had been burgled in three-and-a-half years.

A burglar with 80 convictions had just been released from prison when he broke into an Auckland family's home.

It's not the first time a career criminal has hit their house - so they are not convinced the Act Party's burglary policy will make much of dent when it comes to curbing property crime.

Read more: Jail burglars after third offence, says Act

Father-of-two Gavin, who did not want his surname published for security reasons, said his house had been broken into five times in the past three-and-a-half years.

Gavin.
Gavin.


The most recent time was this month and the burglar, who has since been arrested, was caught on security camera using outdoor furniture to build a makeshift ladder up to a second-storey window.

He entered the house through the bathroom, and once he got into the master bedroom, the alarm went off and he scarpered before he could pinch any of the family's property.

Gavin said the house had always had an alarm, and the cameras were installed about 18 months ago.

He provided footage to police, who recognised the offender immediately.

They told Gavin that the man had recently been released from prison and was a person of interest in a number of other crimes committed around Auckland since then.

Gavin said there was only so much a person could do to protect their home. He and his wife are vigilant with their security, but the thieves still get in.

"The first time, my wife went to pick up the kids and she was only away for half an hour. That's when we really got done over badly," he said.

"Another two times, people broke in and the alarm went off so they ran straight out again.

"Another time, the guy got in and ran straight up to our bedroom and took all my wife's jewellery and ran straight out again. He knew what he was looking for."

Gavin said Act's policy might not be the way to protect the public from burglars.

"I'm not sure if prison is the ultimate answer, but it could be part of it. They definitely need some sort of decent education, some rehabilitation."

He thought the bigger issue politicians should be addressing was the separation of wealth between rich and poor, which he believed was one of the key drivers of burglary.

- NZ Herald

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