Spike in number of car break-ins

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 06:33 09/10/2012

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Thieves breaking into cars in Palmerston North have set their sights on vehicles parked outside the city centre following an increase in police presence and patrols.

Instances of thefts from cars have risen sharply in the past few weeks, prompting police to work with community patrols, Maori wardens and The Plaza security to increase surveillance of the central city.

Two weeks ago, the number of cars being broken into rose from the mid-teens to the mid-20s. Last week they rose again to the mid-30s.

People were leaving valuables in full view, prompting thieves to smash car windows to get to them.

Items being targeted include global positioning systems, radar detectors, stereos, handbags, wallets and iPods.

Palmerston North acting Senior Sergeant Phillip Ward said the increased focus on the central city seemed to have worked, with thefts from cars reducing in the area.

However, the number of cars broken into outside the CBD had risen, particularly in the weekend.

Over the weekend, five cars were broken into while parked at a car park of Te Matai Rd, three in Bledisloe Park, four cars parked outside Warehouse Stationery, and two at the Palmerston North Airport car park.

The cars at the airport were found late on Saturday and Sunday nights. Both had broken windows.

Airport chief executive Darin Cusack said such break-ins at the airport were rare because the car park was patrolled and security was on site 24 hours a day, every day.

Mr Ward said car parks in isolated areas could be easy targets for a motivated offender.

As the patterns changed, the police focus needed to shift.

It was therefore important people let police know as soon as they found their cars had been broken into, so they could react accordingly, he said.

In April the Manawatu Standard reported criminals had been targeting vehicles parked in the streets around Palmerston North Hospital.

The number of cars parked around the facility has risen dramatically since paid parking was introduced to its grounds.

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- Manawatu Standard

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