Drop in rural burglaries as pilot programme kicks in
A police pilot programme to reduce crime appears to be working as rural Waikato burglaries dropped last month compared with the same time last year.
Figures released showed crime in the Waikato increased last year, primarily on the back of 800 more dishonesty offences recorded in the district's small towns and rural communities.
Western Waikato area commander Inspector Paul Carpenter said he and Eastern Waikato area commander Inspector Dana McDonald knew change was imperative in their area.
"In the Western Waikato we kicked off the Victim Focus Framework pilot... delivering a different approach to how police approach victims, empowering them with a greater awareness of what they can do to protect their homes and prevent re-victimisation."
In the Western area, burglaries have nearly halved from 124 in July 2011 to 64 last month.
"A lot of the reduction can be credited to the programme where officers work face-to-face with victims and develop ways to cocoon neighbourhoods."
Mr Carpenter said the term cocooning was about wrapping up not just a victim but neighbours with information on what has been happening in their areas, combining crime prevention messages with environmental design and developing neighbours into the eyes and ears for police in their area.
"Each supervisor has been tasked with directing their staff into taking ownership of issues in their area, together with victims to prevent crime in neighbourhoods before it happens."
In Eastern Waikato burglaries dropped from 106 to 76 and in Hamilton from 282 burglaries to 254.
But Hamilton City deployment manager Inspector Karen Henrikson said while she was pleased with the drops, they were often cyclical and she wanted more sustainable reductions.
"People shouldn't relax and let their guard down."
Last weekend, from Friday morning until Monday morning, 21 Hamilton homes were burgled.
Police noticed hot areas around Cobham and Kahikatea drives, which suffered seven burglaries, and Enderley and Fairfield, where six homes were broken into.
A number of thefts had also been reported in the Flagstaff/Rototuna area.
She encouraged people to contact police immediately if they witnessed any suspicious or unusual activity.
"Some of the most timely arrests made of burglars over recent weeks resulted from neighbours taking down details such as offenders' descriptions and registration numbers of vehicles and phoned them through to police via 111. It does make a difference."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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