Alert levels are dropping and more people are out and about, including thieves. Journalist Kelly Makiha talks to an Ōwhata family who caught some suspected crims on camera at their home.
• Rotorua police in self-isolation amid coronavirus scare
• Coronavirus scare at Rotorua courthouse, police station
• Arrest made in Rotorua homicide investigation
• Premium - Covid 19 coronavirus: More 'knuckleheads' flee Rotorua police in lockdown
"Motion is detected in front yard."
It had been six weeks since an Ōwhata family in Rotorua had heard those words from their mobile phone app linked to their home security camera.
The app lets then know whenever there's someone lurking in their front driveway around their cars.
They said lockdown had felt like such a safe time in their home bubble, but overnight on Sunday the thieves were back.
Police are now warning as alert levels prepare to drop again on Friday and people start to venture out of their homes more, so too are criminals.
The Ōwhata family bought the security camera during summer as a deterrent to thieves.
The woman at the house, who wanted to remain anonymous, said since the start of the year their car doors had been opened three times by suspected thieves, prompting them to buy the security camera.
Since then they have caught three groups of thieves on separate occasions on camera trying to break into the cars.
Medication trouble: Rotorua doctors urge people to plan ahead
Drive through hāngī: Would you like steamed pud with that?
Police pursuit shootout: Elderly people nearly run over in chase - witness
The latest was at 2am on Sunday when the app's voice message woke them up.
The woman said she looked out the window to find three teens loitering in their driveway.
The woman alerted her husband who then woke their "decent-sized" son, they called police and the three of them went to confront the thieves.
Initially the teens just casually walked away, but soon burst into a run as the family started yelling at them.
Two of the young males took off, with the man and his son from the house chasing them. The woman followed a third teen, who was a young girl.
The girl went into a house and the woman waited outside the house until police and a police dog arrived.
The woman said police couldn't do anything to charge the girl as she said she was "just hanging with the bros and didn't touch anything".
The woman said her street was a lovely area full of nice people and she was annoyed they were again dealing with the same problems.
She urged anyone who could afford to spend up to $400 to get a security camera.
"It's well worth it. We would never have known. What annoys me the most is they are coming on to our property and we can't, by law, do anything to them. I know there are some people around here who won't care about that though and they'll soon learn they've messed with the wrong house."
Rotorua police area commander Inspector Phil Taikato said police had noticed crimes such as thefts from cars, shoplifting and wilful damage had started to increase.
He said lockdown crime was mainly family violence and police chases as a result of criminals failing to stop for police when requested.
He urged people who might have become relaxed with their home security during lockdown to ensure bikes and other toys were put away or properly secured.
He urged anyone who could afford it to invest in home security systems and cameras.
"You can view your properties from your phones from anywhere in the country and there are some awesome options available now. Then, if something does happen, it's useful footage for us as police investigating it."