Clear Christmas message sent to burglars

Press Release – New Zealand Police

There will be no Christmas presents this year for a number of suspected burglars arrested in a coordinated operation across five North Island Districts. Operation Safe Home took place in Central, Waikato, Eastern, Bay of Plenty and Wellington targeting …Clear Christmas message sent to burglars

There will be no Christmas presents this year for a number of suspected burglars arrested in a coordinated operation across five North Island Districts.

Operation Safe Home took place in Central, Waikato, Eastern, Bay of Plenty and Wellington targeting known burglars and criminals throughout yesterday. The intention was to send a clear message to offenders and to reduce the chances of residents being burgled this festive season.

Central District Police executed a number of search warrants across the District and arrested a total of 39 people in New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Eketahuna, Woodville and Pahiatua (men and women). Property to be stolen was recovered including a quad bike, ride-on lawn mower, electrical equipment and cellphones. A small amount of drugs and utensils were also recovered.

Those arrested will face a variety of charge and face court in the coming days and weeks.

Detective Senior Sergeant Marc Hercock said: “This operation is all about preventing crime before it occurs and is a small part of a much bigger policing picture. Yesterday we sent a strong clear message to the criminal fraternity that we will continue to investigate all reports of burglary rigorously and take whatever steps necessary to stop offenders in their tracks.”

It is also an opportune time to remind residents about the measures they could and should take to protect their properties.

“There is nothing new about the advice, but we still see people being complacent about their security,” said Detective Senior Sergeant Hercock. “You wouldn’t put a burglar on your Christmas list so don’t gift them something they don’t deserve. Remove the opportunities and temptation by securing windows and doors and keeping wrapped presents and valuables out of sight.”

You can make your home secure and less of an attraction to burglars in a number of ways.

• 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 and security lighting.
• Keep valuables and wrapped presents 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, particularly close to doors and windows are well trimmed – don’t give thieves a place to hide.
• Mark your property so it can be easily identified if recovered
• Make a list of property and record serial numbers
• Take photos of unique items such as jewellery and ornaments
• Keep important documents and valuation certificates in a safe place. If possible store copies with a trusted friend or relative.
• Have home insurance but remember no amount of insurance money can replace those items of sentimental value.
• 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 and then looking out for one another can be effective fight against criminals.

• Consider starting up or joining an existing Neighbourhood Support Group (0800 4NEIGHBOURS)
• Exchange emergency contacts with your neighbours.
• Let neighbours know when you’re going away and see if they can collect your mail and newspapers and maybe open and close the curtains and park a vehicle on the drive.

Sometimes would-be thieves will knock on the door of a property to find out if anyone is in. If someone answers the door they may use a ruse to justify being there, such as looking for a lost animal or thinking it was their friend’s address.

Some simple steps you can take are:

• Install a peep-hole in your front door and a door chain.
• If someone arrives unannounced try to ask them who they are and their reason for being there before you answer the door.
• If you have an odd caller to your home, or see someone behaving suspiciously in your neighbourhood, contact the police to report it. (If you see a crime being committed call 111).

By visiting the New Zealand Police website you can view a short video clip showing a police officer walking though a house providing practical security and crime prevention tips. To view the video go to www.police.govt.nz/protecting-your-stuff

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