Waking in the home in which she had always felt safe, 73-year-old Margaret Lash was shocked to find she had been burgled.

Her television and mobile phone had been stolen from her Glenholme living room while she slept on Tuesday.

Mrs Lash has lived alone since her husband died two years ago.

"I've never ever been burgled before. Every door in this house has a security lock. You'd never think it would happen ... I was feeling strong [after the incident] but now I'm absolutely exhausted."


Mrs Lash said after hearing about the burglary her neighbours can't sleep.

She said the burglar or burglars entered through a locked side door and security screen, using the cat flap as an entry point to open the click lock on the side door.

They then used one of Mrs Lash's gardening tools from outside to break the lock on the screen door. She has since replaced the locks.

"There were lots of things they could have taken. Missy [her dog] didn't bark, she was in the bedroom with me, but I think that is because they didn't come near me ... they must have gently pushed my door closed as when I went to bed it was open."

A police representative said no arrests had been made and the investigation was ongoing.

The burglary comes as new figures released to NZME this week under the Official Information Act showed 93 per cent of burglaries committed in the Rotorua area from January to June remain unsolved.

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For the Bay of Plenty as a whole that figures is more than 90 per cent, with only 8.9 per cent solved nationwide.

Inspector Steve Bullock, acting area commander for Rotorua police, said he was disappointed to hear the resolution rate figures.

"We certainly seek to improve that. In the first instance we want to be preventing crime and, if this is not happening, we want to be resolving them. Burglary has long been a focus for the Rotorua, and the Bay of Plenty, police."

Mr Bullock said it was a priority to attend every burglary scene with the purpose to gather evidence and to ensure those affected were safe.

"It's a challenge. We can't be everywhere at once. We need the community to also be our eyes and ears and report suspicious behaviour."

He said often burglaries would be opportunistic crimes where people left doors unlocked or items of values exposed.

"The most important thing to prevent burglaries would be what we call 'capable guardians'. This is having someone physically watching an address, such as a neighbour, having a burglar alarm or a dog.

"If you see something suspicious, say something."

Mrs Lash is part of her local Neighbourhood Support Watch, with the sticker prominently displayed on the door the burglars entered through.

Bruce Quedley, Neighbourhood Support Rotorua co-ordinator, said the police were doing the best they could within their limitations.

"They work their butts off trying to solve crime."

He said Neighbourhood Support Rotorua send out a quarterly newsletter to more than 9000 homes.

In the latest newsletter it warned of the dangers of putting the new rubbish and recycling bins where burglars could use them to as platforms to get inside windows.

Mr Quedley said he was also worried people were leaving their windows open for ventilation, especially during warmer weather.

"Make sure you have a security latch. We want people to make sure it is difficult for burglars to get inside. This means they might make noise and then somebody can call the police."

When asked what she thought of the fact more than 90 per cent of Bay burglaries were unsolved, Mrs Lash said it was too high.

"However, I don't know what the solution is."

She is grateful her car wasn't stolen, "it's my legs", and that she and her dog were not hurt.

Mrs Lash said the Rotorua police had been a wonderful help, and she was impressed by how quickly her insurance company had come through considering the "rigmarole" of getting everything sorted.

While Mrs Lash is shaken she is resolute the burglars won't change her, saying she is still sleeping soundly.

"I refuse to be knocked off my perch by those low-lives. I won't let it destroy me."