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Crowd-sourced crime watch

There has been a big jump in home security camera sales post-covid. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Police want to know what’s going on too

Posting criminal activity on social media has become a growing trend in Wairarapa post-covid, and police are for it in principle, they just want to be kept in the loop.

Several active Wairarapa community-related social media sites [mainly Facebook] are sharing security camera footage of intruders and pictures of stolen items in the hope someone may know of who, and where, they could be.

While the reasons for doing this may be obvious, and also have its benefits, Wairarapa Police prevention manager Ian Osland encouraged people to let the police also know, so they too had the opportunity to investigate.

“Do both,” Osland said of reporting crimes to social media and police.

“In the ideal world, we would be hearing everything directly through our 105 crime report online or through the police website. However, that’s not always the case.

“Police are well aware of people going directly to social media to report hits on their home, or car theft. We also need the opportunity to investigate positive lines of enquiry, deliver crime prevention advice, and involve Victim Support.”

Osland also said many of the crime-related posts reported to police were not from the victims.

“We know of some of these posts, but they’re not coming from the people who posted initially, but through others bringing it to police attention, which isn’t always best.

“[Police] can’t plot activity or analyse patterns on suspects if we’re not being told about it. Hearing about every crime will ensure we can complete a thorough, detailed analysis, and it gives us a true picture of what’s actually happening.

“So, report, report, report.”

The posting trend has also meant a jump in home surveillance security purchases, with more people forking out big dollars in an attempt to keep their properties safer.

Director of Kahu Security Mark Halewood said there’d been a big jump in home security cameras post-covid.

Masterton’s Kahu Security, which provides electronic installation of security equipment, alarms and cameras, both commercial and residential, had seen significant growth in security camera buying.

Company director Mark Halewood said it was a “busy” time for his business, which he said social media posting had played a part.

“It’s definitely a growing trend,” Halewood said of security camera purchases.

“People are aware of what’s going on out there, and it’s not just in town, it’s rural too.

“Many people have come to us after something’s happened to their property, or they see something posted on social media close to where they live.

“Whether it’s to deter or so they don’t go through an event again, it’s getting busy.”

One victim of a house robbery who took to social media is Colleen Sharp.

Sharp’s Cooper St home in Masterton was robbed early Sunday morning.

She posted images of the alleged intruder’s burglary on Facebook in an attempt to retrieve items that were taken from her home.

Five handbags, a watch, and an Alexa were taken.

Asleep in the house at the time of the alleged break-in, Sharp had no idea she had been hit until a neighbour notified her that others in the street had been robbed. After checking her security footage she found a group of people who attempted to walk on to her porch.

Believing the camera put them off from going any further after they walked away, she thought that was the end of it.

However, later in the day, on her way out, she couldn’t find her handbag. It was then she realised the intruders most likely entered her house through the back door and had taken those items.

“I’m just angry that I slept through it. I’ve also got two dogs and they didn’t bloody bark. But they only took those things, there wasn’t any damage or anything,” she said.

She immediately reported the incident to police. Since then, Sharp has had sensor lights installed to get a clearer view of future footage and has upgraded her surveillance system.

She said if her camera system was not installed, a lot more would have probably been taken.

“The camera did deter them from coming on our porch which we had a lot of things on there. It looks like they saw the camera and said, “oh nah”.

“You can talk to someone every week and they’ve been broken into or their car has been stolen. It’s just on the rise here so getting cameras are a good idea.”

Osland said the more security camera’s that were being installed in homes, the better.

“CCTV is gold a lot of the time. It is the perfect witness,” he said.

“The more cameras out in the community, the more crime will be solved. The more positive lines of enquiry they will generate.”

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