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Good old days gone

By Seamus Boyer

[email protected]

Wairarapa residents were given a stark reminder on Saturday of just how low, and opportunistic, criminals are.

Since November 5, there have been 46 burglaries in Masterton and surrounding areas – well above the seven to eight burglaries a week usually reported to police.

At least 28 of the incidents involved the breaking into or stealing from unlocked cars on driveways, while a further nine had occurred in unlocked laundries or garages.

It led Detective Senior Sergeant Barry Bysouth to issue a pretty no-nonsense statement, reminding people to secure their property.

“The days of leaving vehicles insecure on our properties and doors open to our houses when we are not home are gone,” Mr Bysouth said.

It’s a statement that’s not very pleasant to hear.

We’d like to think people are decent enough to leave our stuff alone when we’re not there to look over it.

But chances are, each time you return home after leaving it unlocked, and find everything still where you left it, it wasn’t because everyone is nice and honest.

It was just because you got lucky.

Of course, the recent warning is far from the first time we’ve been told to stop helping burglars.

In September area commander Inspector Donna Howard was the one getting the message out.

She told the Times-Age that burglaries, being an “invasive, personal” crime, were a priority for police.

“But we can’t do it alone,” she said, adding that more than 50 per cent of home break-ins happened at unsecured properties.

The police must be pulling out their hair, having to constantly ask people to do what should be simple and sensible.

Lock your car and lock your home, and the burglars might put your place in the too-hard basket and move on.

But there may be more to it than that.

People like to think they live in a safe area, and that people can be trusted.

It’s how it was in the past, or so we are often told.

Now we can either admit those happy carefree days are over and lock up our property.

Or keep believing people are generally good and decent, but expect to have our stuff nicked next time we pop out to get some milk.

Both options are unpleasant.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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