Astronomer nabs crims

Last updated 17:22 15/11/2012

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An amateur solar eclipse photographer turned detective yesterday when she noticed a trio of dodgy juveniles sniffing around a neighbour's home.

It’s the latest in a string of burglary incidents where quick thinking residents either prevented crime or helped police arrest the offender.

Hamilton Police city tactical coordinator, Senior Sergeant Freda Grace, said a Nawton woman was at home preparing to photograph the rare event when she noticed three juvenile males acting suspiciously down the street so she kept an eye on them. 

When she saw one knock on a neighbour's door and saw another jump the fence, she dialled 111, Ms Grace said.

"While providing a commentary on the boys' activities to the Police operator the woman used her camera to photograph the offenders and these images, coupled with the description she gave them, meant a patrol in the area was able to apprehend the trio within minutes."

Police commended her actions in a statement released this afternoon.

Ms Grace said it’s exactly what they mean when they talk about police working with the community to prevent crime.

"This is a perfect example; the woman saw something and then did something without placing herself at risk."

Three teenager boys, aged 14, 14 and 16-years-old were arrested for burglary.

Ms Grace said yesterday's success wasn't the only example of local residents stepping up to protect their own or neighbours' homes over recent days.

"Four days ago a Fairfield resident, who had already been the victim of burglars and received crime prevention advice during a community constable's visit, put that advice to good use when he saw three teenage boys acting suspiciously and phoned 111.

"Officers arrived to find the trio breaking in through a neighbour's ranch slider and arrested them."

In another case, Ms Grace said an Enderley resident made good use of security advice. After his home was broken into he installed a state of the art security system.

"Unfortunately his home was burgled last week but this time, due to high resolution images captured by the security cameras, an 18-year-old male is now in prison.’’

Two days ago a Rotokauri couple's home was broken into but the offenders fled after a burglar alarm was activated. 

‘‘The alarm had been installed after police had visited their home following a burglary earlier in the year."

Ms Grace said the value of crime prevention advice was high provided victims adhered to it but Police would prefer to prevent crimes from happening in the first place and encouraged people to contact them before they became victims for information on how to target harden their homes.

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She said there are a range of cost effective measures available and ‘‘some just involve getting to know your neighbours or setting up a Neighbourhood Support group.’’

"But one of the simplest things you can do is like these community heroes- if you see something, do something and that is ring 111."

- Waikato Times

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