CBD burglaries highest
The numbers paint a grim picture of Auckland’s central city burglary rate, but police say it’s not all doom and gloom.
Figures released by Statistics New Zealand show the area had the most burglaries per head of population in the country between January and June last year, with 139.1 incidents.
Sergeant Jane Galilee, who heads up the city’s burglary squad, says staff deal with far more burglaries in the surrounding suburbs than the city centre.
The city has a small residential population which skews the statistics.
Generally there might be one or two burglaries reported for the central city each day or none at all, she says.
“It’s mostly offices and commercial buildings.”
Apartments are also occasionally burgled.
Burglars often target elec- tronic items like laptops, projectors and televisions in office buildings.
“The other aspect is high-end clothing and sunglasses,” says Ms Galilee.
The city had a spate of safes being stolen late last year and early this year.
“People have a false sense of security that if they have stuff in a safe, it’s safe,” she says.
But if the safe isn’t built into a wall or bolted to the floor, it can easily be taken.
Crime scene attendant Russell Vincent says there are measures people can take to make their workplaces safer, such as keeping safes out of sight and having valuables locked away.
The city had a recent rash of opportunistic burglaries, known as “stair dancing”, where thieves walk into offices and take bags and wallets.
Police sent out a notice to businesses at the start of the year warning about the crime.
Stair dancers often take things like swipe cards left in reception draws to access the building later, or steal credit cards and phone the owner pretending to be the bank to get the PIN number.
Ms Galilee says workers should challenge strangers they find walking around in the building and ask what they are doing.
Businesses and residents also stand a better chance of having their stolen goods returned if they record serial numbers on electronics.
Not only will the electronics be traced to their owners, but it can lead to other items like jewellery taken in the same burglary being recovered, says Mr Vincent.
For more safety tips, go to www.police.govt.nz.