Crooks hammer Waipa district
Waipa community leaders are desperate for a change in the way their towns are policed as criminals continue to hammer the district.
Three ram-raids have been reported on Waipa businesses over summer, the latest on a petrol service station.
Cambridge Community Board Chairman Mike Pettit is again appealing for an end to the Waikato Police Hub and a return to 24/7 policing in town.
The hub was introduced in 2015 and provides Cambridge with police coverage from Te Awamutu overnight.
In the latest serious crime, a stolen car was driven through the glass doors of the gas station at Karapiro, near Cambridge, early on Monday morning. It followed two days after a ram raid on the Cambridge branch of sport clothing retailer, Stirling Sports, with the company’s Te Awamutu branch targeted in the same manner at the end of February.
Pettit, far from happy, said the timing of the raids tell the story.
‘‘These criminals know when the towns are vulnerable and are acting accordingly. More of this type of burglary is inevitable with reactive, rather than the proactive policing model we had before changes in 2015.’’
Cambridge Chamber of Com- merce chief executive Tania Witheford also wants to see an urgent police staffing review for Cambridge.
‘‘We are experiencing a spate of crime, where vehicles are used as the blunt tool for entry.
‘‘It has the potential to inflict personal, physical harm, as well as significant and costly damage to the victims’ property, notwithstanding the cost of stolen items.
‘‘The cost of this crime does not stop there for the victims. There is an impact on staff, health, wellbeing and performance, lost revenue over any period of closure, as well as the cost of the repairs, increased insurance and increased costs in security measures.’’
Crime statistics from an Official Information Act request presented to the community board and Western Waikato Police Area Commander Naila Hassan revealed criminal activity had steadily increased since changes were made to the way police patrolled Cambridge in 2015.
Hassan said at the time she was satisfied with how the new command centre was running, with the staff she had at her disposal, but would continue to ‘‘look at the situation’’.