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Security cameras cut Balmoral car crime rate

RHIANNON HORRELL
Last updated 05:00 09/05/2012

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Beefed-up security in Balmoral is making a difference after a spike in the number of car break-ins.

Balmoral police Sergeant Steve Chung says there had been a high rate of property theft from cars and a series of new security cameras are helping to tackle the problem.

"There's large numbers of Asian diners in the area who park their cars and then wander around the corner to the restaurants. That has precipitated the spike in thefts," he says. "They are leaving Navmans in full view or iPods. Someone will walk past and think, `Sweet, I'll have that'.

"People need to take more responsibility for the safety of their items."

Mr Chung has been working with Balmoral McDonald's because a large section of the car park area on Wiremu St belongs to the restaurant chain.

Mr Chung says six cameras now operate in the car park and a couple more cover the angle parking in Wiremu St.

"The cameras themselves are quite visible. We're getting more signage around the area too. The stats have gone back to a normal average. Any improvement in numbers we're getting is a bonus."

Balmoral McDonald's owner Sam Maharaj says the area is notorious for car break-ins but there's been a noticeable drop in broken glass on the ground.

"This was happening long before we moved in. It's now more lit up and is a well-monitored area. We are working with the police on this."

Mr Chung says police are starting to use number plate recognition technology, similar to that used as part of the northern gateway tunnels, to tell if a vehicle is of any interest to them.

He says there's also a tool available on the police website to check if a car is stolen.

"Remember to give us a ring if you see something strange or any suspicious persons."Head to police.govt.nz/stolen/vehicles to enter a registration plate number and see if the car is reported stolen.

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