Spike in burglaries say police

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 08:45 17/07/2014

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Palmerston North police are warning people to stay vigilant after more than 30 homes were burgled in the city in seven days.

The figure is about 10 more than usual for a week, Inspector Brett Calkin said, and took place thoughout the city, with some areas hit harder than others.

Student areas Morris St and Ada St, and homes in the Hokowhitu and Terrace End area, bounded by Main St and Albert St back toward the Manawatu River, were particular targets.

The majority of offences took place during the day.

That included early evening when the sky was starting to darken, which made it easy for offenders to tell when people weren't home because there were no lights on, he said.

Burglaries often spiked in winter because of this, he said.

Among items targeted were jewellery and small electronics, which were easy to conceal and sell on.

A house in the area surrounding Palmerston North Hospital had a washing machine taken, indicating there was a vehicle used, Calkin said.

The most common method of entry was the use of a stone to break the glass in windows and doors, before reaching through to unlock them.

That wasn't unusual in itself, but tended to indicate that the burglaries were opportunist, rather than planned, where tools were taken along, he said.

In general, however, half of burglaries in Palmerston North were committed after the intruder gained access through an insecure window or door. That included garages and sheds, Calkin said.

He encouraged people to stay vigilant, particularly during the day and later afternoon.

There was a direct correlation between areas where a high number of calls regarding suspicious people were made to police, and the areas that were largely untouched by burglars.

"It really pays for people to call us if they see someone acting suspiciously in the neighbourhood," Calkin said.

Research done locally and nationally showed the chances of "near repeat victimisation" rose when there was a burglary in the area, meaning if it happened to one house in the neighbourhood, the chances of it happening again to a house nearby increased.

Burglars liked areas they knew and where they'd had success in the past, he said.

The Massey University Community Constable had been working in student areas over the past few weeks talking with students about keeping their property safe, he said.

HANDY HINTS

Tips to prevent your home being burgled Install an alarm system, and ensure it is turned on.

Install locks on windows and window security stays.

If someone is acting suspiciously, report them to police.

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And in case you are burgled . . . Record serial numbers. It makes it easier for the police to return items.

Take photos of valuable jewellery, for police and for insurance purposes.

- Manawatu Standard

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