Police are urging witnesses to call them when they see a crime rather than just posting about it on social media after a series of terrifying home invasions and armed robberies in the Coromandel Hauraki region.
An alleged armed hold-up of a female staff member and her 15-year-old son at The Junction Hotel in Thames in recent weeks has left residents and shop owners on high alert, owner Karl Edmonds said.
One person has been arrested and charged in relation to an incident on 5 July at a business on Pollen St, Thames.
The person is due to appear in Auckland District Court next month.
Edmonds said staff had begun locking doors and pairing up to go outside after closing in the days before an alleged attempted robbery took place.
"A week before we had seen some dodgy people hanging around at night so we started locking our last couple of customers in and teaming up to take the rubbish out and locking doors.
"We're now really cautious of keeping doors locked and having two people take the bins out at night. We are generally more aware of it."
In nearby Morrinsville, a woman woke and had to fight off an alleged offender, who then fled from the scene. It is believed the offender had been hiding in the house and waited until she fell asleep.
Police have obtained evidence of the alleged offender's identity and are waiting on forensic test results.
As a community we've got to step up and take some responsibility for this complacency.
Shops are also being targeted, including a ram raid of Stirling Sports in Thames on Sunday night, a burglary of a jeweller in Morrinsville and four people targeting Coromandel Gas service station on Wharf Rd in Coromandel town also on Sunday night.
"Police can't be everywhere all the time. We need your help to protect the community and catch the criminals causing harm," said Waihi Police Constable Harley North.
"There's a really high degree of community complacency at the moment. A lot more could be done by calling us when you see suspicious activity and not just posting on social media but calling Police."
He said there appeared to be a mindset that police were too busy or stretched, or that what was witnessed might not be serious.
Failing to alert police in a timely way and instead of posting on social media was hindering investigations.
"People are just posting things on the grapevine and social media pages and don't call Police. It's really frustrating."
Waihi Police had followed up on two social media posts in which alleged crimes had occurred but nobody had reported them to Police, instead commenting on whether or not it was fair to accuse a person - and in one case, asking people to send a personal message on social media to the post author with information.
Both posts had led to active Police investigations.
Police warned Waihi and Matamata-Piako in particular are being continually hit by burglaries, with five burglaries in one week last week in Waihi.
On Friday, 23 July a Waihi woman came face to face with a suspected burglar outside her kitchen window at Wrigley St. He fled from the scene and police are investigating.
Police say a group of people, including one allegedly armed with a firearm, tried to force entry to a residential property at Albert St, Waihi. The occupier managed to flee from the property and nobody was harmed. Police are investigating.
Also on Sunday night, four people including one allegedly armed with a hammer stole cash and cigarettes from Coromandel Gas service station on Wharf Rd.
Police stopped a vehicle with spikes at Kennedy Bay after it failed to pull over. One person was arrested and others fled the scene. Police believe they have identified the other alleged offenders and are making enquiries to locate them for arrest.
Stirling Sports owner Maree Trow, whose shop was targeted on Sunday, says she is grateful nothing was stolen but the damage caused by the vehicle smashing into the store security grilles was substantial.
"We bought the store on 1 September and was told the ram raid was the seventh or eight they'd had. When we bought the place the security grilles were a plus and I haven't worried about it because I felt like the store was secure."
Police are investigating the ram raid.
Rural properties are extremely vulnerable due to a lack of neighbours and people in the area, Police say, as are unsecured properties.
"Leaving gates, garages, vehicles and houses unlocked is not helping prevent burglaries. Neither is leaving keys in ATVs and other machinery or fuel lying about unsecured in containers.
"As a community we've got to step up and take some responsibility for this complacency. Lock it or lose it, and report all suspicious behaviour to police at the time."
Marie Trow of Stirling Sports said repair businesses including glaziers and grille repairers who fixed the damage had been "amazing" and the store was now secure again.
Frustratingly, she said, the products they sold continued to be targeted and she thanked the public who reported sightings of unusual activity.
"We were told by Police when our other store in Pukekohe was targeted that the goods don't fetch much, like $20 a shirt, but in court they are made to pay the full amount of $120, so where's the value compared to the risk?"
Police again called on the public to be vigilant in reporting any suspicious activity.
"If you happen to be a shift worker or are out and about at night keep your eyes peeled for anything suspicious and call police 111 immediately if you see anything dodgy or unusual," said Constable North.