Tis the season to be cautious
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.