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Police detail increase in crime

The latest Community Partnership Police Report for Masterton shows that from Thursday, May 30 to Thursday, June 6, there were five burglaries, five incidents of theft, three cases of shoplifting, one fraud, and two stolen vehicles.

Although that might appear to be a high level of crime, local police said this is not an unusual number of offences and that they are working hard to crack down on offenders.

The crimes range from the previously reported break-in at Showcase Jewellery Store on Queen St to people not paying for petrol and a TV antenna being stolen from a vacant property.

A large percentage of these recent crimes were committed by young people under the age of 18, Sergeant Steve Cameron told the Times-Age.

“We always hold them accountable, which means talking to them and their families,” he said.

“Prosecution and prison is the last resort because the statistics show that it is not recognised
as the best option.”

The shoplifting offences, however, mainly tended to be people at the lower end the socioeconomic ladder who resorted to stealing due to need rather than greed, Wairarapa Police acting area prevention manager Gill Flower said.

During the week-long period, there were a total of eight burglaries reported to police in Wairarapa.

Cameron said such reports are generally concentrated in the main towns, because there “is a lot of unreported rural crime as those people often don’t know how to report it”, even though “we have a team of officers that deal specifically with rural crime and are always keen to investigate”.

Both Flower and Cameron advised that anyone observing a crime in progress should immediately call 111, while any crimes that have already happened should be reported via the 105 non-emergency line in the first instance.

‘If their claim is unresolved with 105, we then welcome people to visit the local police station and follow up with your claim here,” Flower said.

“Unlike some centres like Auckland, we have the capacity to investigate the smaller incidents.

“We are working as hard as we can on crime and ask that people report things even if they are small.”

Residents concerned about home security are advised to lock up equipment and valuables, and use deadbolts.

Cameron was also keen to promote a lesser-known tool known as Community Cam.

“CCTV cameras are vital to investigating crimes, so the Community Cam website [commuitycam.co.nz] allows people to register that they have a camera on their property, as well as their address,” Cameron said.

“When a crime is reported, we will log in to the website and see what cameras are in the area to help us with our investigation.”

Cameron advocated that people invest in video surveillance equipment for their property and noted that, with modern technological advances, people can have their CCTV cameras connected to their smartphones.

    The Community Partnership Police Report is supported by Masterton District Council; anyone who wishes to receive it can sign up on the council website:
    mstn.govt.nz

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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