Police are urging members of the public to report suspicious activity straight away after a would-be burglar escaped after he was disturbed in the process of breaking into a house.
An Upper Hutt man spotted the suspicious man walking up the driveway of an Elderslea address and, knowing the homeowners were away for the evening, went to have a look.
The neighbour disturbed the burglar as he was climbing in a window of the house, and the burglar fled.
While the burglary was foiled, police said the burglar was likely to have gone on and burgled another home because the crime was not reported early enough.
"Thankfully, this burglary was stopped but, by the neighbour not reporting the behaviour immediately, it's likely the offender went on to commit another crime," community constable Flora Nielsen said.
"The neighbour contacted the homeowners on the same day but police were not made aware of the incident until the following day," she said.
"Unfortunately, this makes the issue significantly more difficult to investigate as evidence and witnesses are harder to find as time passes."
The offender was not found.
"By reporting behaviour such as this immediately, you may help prevent a crime from occurring and save someone from becoming a victim."
Police also reminded residents to be vigilant about home safety to assist in prevention efforts.
"Often, burglars will be opportunistic and choose easy targets, such as homes with open windows or unlocked doors.
"Any reports of concerning behaviour in your area should be made to Wellington Police on 04 381 2000.
"If you witness suspicious activity occurring or suspect a crime is being committed, call 111 immediately."
Police advise the following to help keep your property safe:
● Always lock up. Burglars often enter through unlocked doors and windows or they take advantage of weak locks.
● Lock the front door if you're in the back garden or doing something that needs a lot of concentration, such as studying or sewing.
● Lock away tools and ladders because burglars could use them to break in.
● Lock garden sheds and your garage if you can.
● Sensor lights are an excellent security device because they light up automatically if somebody moves nearby.
● Keep trees and shrubs trimmed so they don't provide hiding places for burglars.
● Guard your keys. Don't have personal details on your keys (such as your name, phone number or address). Don't leave house keys with your car keys when your car is being serviced.
● Never leave notes on a door stating that you are out.
● When you go away, make sure your home looks "lived in".