Even though the number of thefts from cars has taken a dive in the last year, police still recorded 6792 incidents.
Reporter Emma Whittaker visited car parks to see just how good people are at securing their valuables.
If I was a thief I would be rubbing my hands together menacingly.
It's a sunny school holiday afternoon at a popular shopping spot and the pickings are rich.
The St Lukes mall and neighbouring Mega Centre are popular hunting grounds for thieves, according to police.
Other top spots in the area include the Lynfield shops, Balmoral Warehouse carpark, and the area around the Auckland Zoo.
Police regularly patrol the sites as a way of putting thieves off and to educate people about not making themselves targets.
So I am surprised at what I find.
As well as the good crop of GPS systems still attached invitingly to windscreens in St Lukes, there's a Gucci handbag in full view on a passenger's seat, iPhones or iPods still clearly plugged into stereo systems, several packets of cigarettes, and even one car with the passenger window down and the owner nowhere to be seen.
I probably don't meet people's expectations of what a thief should look like, but I was surprised that nobody even seemed to notice as I made my way around peeking and peering into vehicles. Visitors to Cornwall Park on the same day scored somewhat better.
There were a few GPS systems on offer, but not a lot else and somebody did come and ask me what I was up to.
The difference in results got me wondering - do we assume we're safe just because we're parked out the front of a shop?
Mt Roskill Community Policing Team Sergeant James Cassin's answer is that it is possible.
"But you're not safe anywhere," he says.
The police annual crime figures for the year ending in June show there were 2990 fewer thefts from cars than in the previous year.
Mr Cassin is putting it down to the police's general focus on property crime, which tends to dominate statistics.
Even small and seemingly low value items can be enough to attract a chancer thief.
Cigarettes are a big one, Mr Cassin says.
"Too many people are complacent.
"The only thing between your stuff and an opportunistic thief is a window," he says.
AA Insurance alone received 450 claims for theft from vehicles in the past year with the average claim costing about $1930.
Head of customer relations Suzanne Wolton says customers are expected to make sure their property is reasonably secure.
"While comprehensive vehicle insurance is there to help replace or repair the damage to your car, stolen personal items are not covered under the vehicle insurance. Items left in your car, which aren't part of it, such as sunglasses and clothing are usually covered under contents insurance."
Police advise people to call 111 if they see someone acting suspiciously around cars and car parks.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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