Technology boosts latest operation

16:00, Feb 26 2014
Brendon Muir
SIMPLE SETUP: Brendon Muir at the controls of Automatic Number Plate Recognition van which alerts police when a car they want to check drives by.

Criminals are about to go into overdrive and police are working to sweep them from the streets.

March is historically the highest month for volume crime, police say.

Volume crimes are offences such as shoplifting, theft from cars, stealing cars, burglaries and petrol drive-offs.

SNAPPED: Cameras on the police automatic number plate recognition van alerts police if a car driving past has been linked to any crimes.

To combat the rise the Waitemata Policing District, which includes the Rodney Policing Area, is launching Operation Vapour.

Staff from across the district will break their traditional borders during the operation to target criminals as they travel towards their goal during March.

Head of Operation Vapour, Inspector Claire Humble says police are using a variety of crime-fighting tactics.


"Lots of foot patrols, high visibility patrols and road checks," she says.

Police will also be using their automatic number plate recognition van.

The van cross-references registrations with the police database for any alerts on the vehicle or the person driving.

"So we can look for people who have previously done petrol drive-offs or been involved in burglaries or other crimes they've not been apprehended for.

"And hopefully we will be able to use that technology to help us apprehend them through this operation," Ms Humble says.

The Rodney area suffers a high number of petrol drive-offs and police will be on the lookout for them as they are the precursor for more crime, she says.

"Crime often begins when criminals steal a number plate from another car, put it on their own car, fill up at the pump then drive off.

They then have a full tank of petrol in their car to drive right across the greater Auckland area to commit more crime, such as stealing cars."

Police are working with petrol station owners and are also offering to replace motorist's registration screws with tamper-proof fittings for gold coin donations per screw.

Shoplifters will also be targeted with a high-visibility police presence in shopping malls.

Police are working with security companies at high-risk shopping areas to help staff recognise common behaviour, trends, repeat offenders and ways to prevent shoplifting.

Rodney Times