'Tis season to be jolly... careful about theft


The festive season brings out the thieves, say the Palmerston North police, who are warning people to look out and lock up over the holiday period.

Bicycle thefts throughout the central city, predominantly in The Square, spiked from one or two to six in the second week of December in what police believe might be the start of the Christmas season thefts.

Acting Inspector Brett Calkin said some expensive bikes, worth more than $1000, were stolen.

"I suspect this is the beginning of our Christmas theft season around the CBD," he said.

Bike owners were warned to make sure their bikes are locked up with a decent quality lock, he said.

The Christmas period was also a time when thefts from cars increased, since people were shopping and often took their purchases back to the car before returning to do other things, he said.

Those parcels needed to be hidden from sight and the car locked, so they did not become a temptation for thieves.

Mr Calkin also urged retailers to be on the lookout, as the chances of people shoplifting tended to increase.

A prime time for burglars was over the Christmas-New Year period, starting Boxing Day, when people often went away on holiday, he said.

Every year there was a spike in burglaries at that time of year, he said, but they often went unreported as people did not find the damage until they returned from their break.

Reports of burglaries were up in the high twenties for the first week of January this year, between 10 and 15 burglaries higher than is usually reported in any given week.

Mr Calkin said people planning to go on holiday should get to know their neighbours and ask them to collect junk mail, park a car in the drive, and keep an eye on the place.

Before leaving, it was useful to look at the house as if through the eyes of a burglar and consider how to make burglary harder for them, he said.

That included clearing out any items that might be used to smash windows, as burglars often used the implements available to them, rather than carry housebreaking equipment down the street.

The Manawatu Standard