A recent spate of car break-ins at Hawke's Bay Hospital has sparked a rise in security.

Last weekend, six cars had locks picked, and laptops, wallets and phones were stolen.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board security manager Rob Thorpe said three of the cars belonged to staff and they were "upset and annoyed".

"It is sad that these people are happily preying on those vulnerable, who are either working, or visiting sick family and friends."


The hospital already has 160 internal and external cameras, but another 20 are being added to the considered hotspots.

Thorpe has noticed a spike in crime around the hospital in the past eight months and put it down to the number of youth gangs hanging around the area.

He said the youths weren't just breaking into cars but also causing ruckus in hospital corridors and in the Memorial Chapel.

"These corridors are becoming a thoroughfare for people going to and from Camberley, especially if it is raining."

Thorpe said they were loud and disruptive, so the hospital was also going to install 360-degree cameras in some places to try to deter this behaviour.

The Memorial Chapel has been no stranger to vandalism and most weeks Thorpe received alarm calls from the chaplain over youths being abusive.

"Kids just go in there and be abusive or rip up books. It's not good," he said.

In December last year, money collected for the memorial garden in the lead-up to the annual remembrance service was stolen.


Hospital chaplain Barbara Walker had to buy a new donation box, which is harder for people to walk away with.

"I just think it is pretty poor that these people are targeting vulnerable people and I hope these offenders know they will get caught," Thorpe said.

He wanted the public to know that they hand their security camera footage to police when needed.

"We have a good relationship with police and it is highly likely people will get caught as we are watching them and we are continuing to add more preventative measures."

Some of the cameras have photo identification and staff have had a 70 per cent success rate in catching offenders.

Police were also adding patrols around the hospital campus, and the Hastings District Council community patrol was also assisting when available.

A police spokesman said two youths have been referred to the Hawke's Bay Police Youth Aid section after members of the public caught them trying to break into cars.

"Police continue to ask people not to leave anything of value in their vehicles, however if they do make sure it is out of sight."

"We also seek assistance from the public by being our eyes and ears for the communities where they live or visit and to call us straight away if they see anything suspicious."