Tis the sea­son to be cau­tious

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

Bur­glar­ies and thefts from cars con­tinue to plague Palmer­ston North sub­urbs.

An av­er­age of four city houses a day are be­ing bur­gled; there are thefts from up to five cars a day, while an av­er­age of 10 cars or mo­tor­cy­cles a week are stolen.

Heav­i­est-hit sub­urbs for house break-ins in the past three weeks have been High­bury, Clover­lea, Riverdale, Mil­ver­ton and Awa­puni.

Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port field of­fi­cer Sian Bullen said that with warmer weather, the risk of theft in­creased as peo­ple left doors and win­dows open for ven­ti­la­tion, and houses unat­tended while work­ing in their gar­dens.

‘‘Ross Peat, who is the po­lice scene of crime of­fi­cer, says house­hold­ers are not lock­ing their doors, and there are peo­ple who are go­ing around try­ing their luck with un­se­cured prop­er­ties.

‘‘His ad­vice is: Even if you’re out in the gar­den, make sure back doors, as well as sheds and garages are locked.’’

Some­thing else Peat re­ports from res­i­den­tial crime scenes is that too many peo­ple who have house alarms are not turn­ing them on.

‘‘If you have an alarm - use it!’’ Bullen said.

All gates to the prop­erty, in­clud­ing ac­cess points to schools, churches, parks, walk­ways and re­serves, should be kept locked.

Op­por­tunis­tic thieves are also tar­get­ing cars and their con­tents - all the more tempt­ing if they con­tain Christ­mas shop­ping.

Bullen says Christ­mas also in­creases the risk of break-in. In De­cem­ber many houses are stocked up with food, al­co­hol and presents, and ev­ery year there are heart­break­ing tales of peo­ple hav­ing their Christ­mas swiped.

‘‘Don’t put ex­pen­sive presents un­der the tree, keep them sep­a­rate. Re­mem­ber that the con­tents of fridges and freez­ers are tar­gets, too.’’

Meat and al­co­hol joins jew­ellery; elec­tron­ics such as lap­tops, PlayS­ta­tions, X-boxes and TVs; credit cards, keys, pass­ports, per­fume, shoes and women’s cloth­ing as top steals.

‘‘If bur­glars gain en­try, they usu­ally tip out the mas­ter bed­room. It might be strate­gic not to keep any­thing of value there, and cer­tainly don’t dis­play ex­pen­sive jew­ellery.’’

He said there was also a push to start more Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port groups.

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