Having nosy neighbours may be a good thing, says the leader of Wairarapa police's volume crime unit.

Keeping an eye on your neighbours is one of the best things people can do to prevent burglaries, according to Masterton Detective Sergeant Dean Cadwallader.

Mr Cadwallader said people often noticed things that seemed out of place but might not report them for fear of seeming nosy.

People needed to "get over the nosy neighbour syndrome because if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't", Mr Cadwallader said.


"I really believe in keeping an eye on your neighbours because people see stuff and don't always report it because they don't think it's important."

Police did not mind being called out for minor things that could turn out to be false alarms if it meant helping people prevent a crime, he said. "It's easier to stop it before it happens than trying to replace the property afterwards."

Being burgled had a long-lasting effect on victims, he said.

"The invasion of privacy is the big one. They feel unsafe - people have been through their personal items so it does have a major effect on them."

He recommended people join neighbourhood support groups, avoided leaving spare keys in obvious places and got their neighbours to check their mailbox regularly when they went away.

Tips for avoiding burglary:

-Keep sheds, bikes and gardening equipment secured.

-Close gates - or even better, have a squeaky gate.

-Make sure valuables are not visible from the road.

-Keep windows and doors locked, even if you are in the backyard.

-Keep a record of the serial number of valuable items so they can be returned to you if police recover them.