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20 per cent crime drop

PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

EMMA BROWN
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There was a burglary every 15 hours and 45 minutes in Wairarapa last year.

Police data shows there were 555 burglaries in Wairarapa in 2019, a decrease from 579 the year before.

Wairarapa Police area commander Scott Miller said over the past two years, burglaries had decreased in Wairarapa and crime in general was down about 20 per cent.

On average there was about eight to 10 burglaries a week, Miller said.

“That’s pretty low.”

He said the police forensic team worked with the front line and tactical crime unit on these crimes.

Last year, there was a 31.6 per cent drop in recorded burglaries in South Wairarapa, from 152 in 2018 to 104 in 2019.

That equalled one burglary every 84 hours compared with one every 57 and a half hours in 2018.

Masterton had a slight increase from 366 burglaries in 2018 to 371 in 2019.

That equalled one burglary every 23 and a half hours.

Carterton had an increase of 31 per cent in burglaries from 61 in 2018 to 80 in 2019.

That’s about one every 110 hours.

Miller said there were “spikes” in offending that affected the statistics.

Often, the offending was from people who were not from Wairarapa such as people who had been bailed from prison, Miller said.

These people were spoken to by police.

According to police offenders’ statistics, men were more likely to commit burglaries in Wairarapa than women [81.8 per cent compared with 18.2 per cent].

Miller said most burglaries in Wairarapa were done by young people.

Police data shows the largest offending age group for burglaries in the region was 15-19-year-olds.

There were also two offenders reported from the ages of 5 to 9 in 2019 and four in 2018.

Miller said often burglaries and car thefts were committed by the same type of people.

He also said there were two types of burglars – opportunist and targeted.

PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

Wairarapa had a problem with people not locking their properties or vehicles, which were targets for opportunist burglars – these people walk around looking for easy burglaries, he said.

Nearly 50 per cent of burglaries in the region involved people not securing their houses or vehicles on their property.

“If the public take better care of the security aspect, you certainly would reduce the burglaries.”

Targeted burglars are those who target places and items.

Miller said some specialised in certain products – “they steal what they know they can sell”.

An example was jewellery.

Most people have their houses alarmed but not their bedrooms.

Targeted burglars look for signs people were not home and go straight to the bedroom and take jewellery, Miller said.

One sign that someone was not home was a lack of lights on in the early evening.

Miller said the police community team spoke to people in the community about how to reduce opportunities for burglaries.

He said people should ring the police if they saw someone acting suspiciously or coming on to their property and knocking on their door.

“They are just trying to find out if someone is home,” Miller said.

“Sometimes they are legitimate, but often they are not.”

He said if people were suspicious of someone, they should make sure they gave a description to police about the person, what they were wearing, and if they had a vehicle, what the licence plate was.

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