Car break-ins on the rise

17:28, Nov 29 2012
Ella Hall - car break-ins
Freyberg High School student Ella Hall, 17, is one of many victims to have their car broken into.

A recent spate of thefts from cars in Palmerston North has left car owners with smashed windows that can take weeks to replace.

Older cars often require secondhand glass, which can take days to source, and it is not unusual to have to get glass from overseas.

Smith and Smith branch manager Richard Mainwaring said the company had a lot of cars coming in with smashed side windows.

‘‘We have noticed an increase recently in cars getting broken into,’’ he said.

The company sometimes had to go overseas for glass.

While the glass was being sourced, cars needed to be weather-proofed, which meant having plexi-glass put over the bare window as soon as possible, Mr Mainwaring said. Sometimes people did not get this done and cars could be left unsecured.


Palmerston North’s Ella Hall, 17, who had her car window smashed and her wallet stolen this week, is still waiting for a replacement window.

The passenger-side window of her car was smashed outside her Hokowhitu home on Tuesday night.

‘‘I got up in the morning and it was smashed all over the road,’’ she said.

When she took her 1986 Suzuki Swift in for repairs she was told the age of the car meant she would have to wait a couple of days for a new window.

Ella said it was a nuisance.

Acting Senior Sergeant Phil Ward said having to wait for replacement glass was a ‘‘huge inconvenience’’.

‘‘If there is only a piece of plastic, or perspex, covering the window then it is going to make the car more susceptible, or vulnerable,’’ he said.

Fortunately the recent spike in thefts from cars had ‘‘calmed considerably’’, Mr Ward said.

Theft from cars reached a 10-year high at the start of this month, and the end of October, with more than 50 incidents per week.

Police are now dealing with about 15 incidents per week.

The reduction was directly related to public awareness, Mr Ward said. 

Police were working with the Palmerston North City Council, and retailers in high-risk areas, such as the Lido and Harvey Norman car parks, to put in place further security measures, he said.

Historically, there was a rise in offending during the Christmas holiday period, and police urged Christmas shoppers not to leave shopping in plain sight within their motor vehicles.

Manawatu Standard