Holiday season tempts thieves, police warn

Last updated 12:00 10/01/2014

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Central District police are reminding holidaymakers to make sure they secure their properties before heading away.

Although the holidays are over for some people, they are just about to start for others, and there are plenty of simple things holidaymakers could do to prevent their homes from being targeted by burglars, police say.

Central District prevention manager Inspector Mark Harrison said that at this time of year there was usually a seasonal increase in dishonesty offending across the district, particularly burglary and theft from vehicles.

"Even if you are just popping out to the shops, simple steps such as shutting and securing all your windows and making sure valuables are kept out of sight can save you a whole of stress and upset in the long run," he said.

"These may sound like simple steps but people can often forget to practise these, given they may have a lot on their mind, especially at this time of the year."

A lot of useful information is available on how to secure homes and cars.

Resources can be found on the police website, but police station staff can also offer advice on how to make a home less vulnerable to burglary.

Tips to protect your property from thieves:

Make sure your house, vehicles, sheds and garages are secured at all times and use effective catches and locks. Don't leave a spare door key hidden outside.

Invest in an alarm, quality deadlocks and security lighting.

Keep valuables out of view.

Make the house look lived-in - put lights on automatic timers and have someone open and close curtains and take the post in.

Make sure plants and trees are well trimmed - don't give thieves a place to hide.

Make a list of property and record serial numbers.

Take photos of unique items such as jewellery and ornaments.

Don't put empty boxes from new purchases out with the rubbish as it advertises what is in your house - take them to be recycled.

Getting to know your neighbours is also effective in the fight against crime.

Another way to prevent burglaries is to report any suspicious behaviour to police or call 111.

"Police appreciate it when people call about things that are not quite right in their neighbourhood," said Mr Harrison.

"If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong then it probably is."

Householders should also take advantage of Operation SNAP, which enables anyone to record serial numbers and other unique identifying details of their valuable goods on an electronic database. Visit snap.org.nz for further information.

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- Manawatu Standard

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