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Anonymous warning to criminals

A South Wairarapa resident has issued a public warning to light-fingered locals, although police say crime numbers in the district have not spiked this year.

The anonymous hand-written warning was recently pinned to the notice board at Featherston SuperValue supermarket.

“Be aware,” it read: “Local group of youths stealing cars and breaking and entering properties!! We know who you are and where you live now.”

However, Wairarapa area commander Inspector Scott Miller said police have not noted an increase in burglary, theft from vehicles, or vehicles being stolen in Martinborough, Featherston, or Greytown this year.

“This year’s crime rates are consistent with typical levels. In fact, instances of reported crime are trending lower than previous years,” Miller said.

Numbers provided by police showed reported crimes in all three South Wairarapa [SW] districts were relatively low over the past three months, with February in single figures.

During February, there were two burglaries, two stolen cars or trailers, and three thefts from vehicles in Martinborough and rural SW, and there had been one burglary each in Featherston and Greytown.

During March, there were two reported stolen cars or trailers and two thefts from vehicles in Martinborough and rural SW, in Featherston there was one burglary, one stolen car or trailer, and one theft from a vehicle, and in Greytown there were three burglaries, one stolen car, and two thefts from vehicles.

For April, as of last Friday, there had been no crime reported in Martinborough and rural SW, while there were two burglaries reported in Featherston, and one burglary and one theft from a vehicle in Greytown.

“Wairarapa police hope these figures provide reassurance for the community. We work hard to hold offenders to account and will continue to maintain visibility in the area,” Miller said.

“However, we understand that any instances of crime are traumatic for victims and can be worrying for the wider community. We encourage everyone to take steps to make sure your home and vehicles are secured as best as possible.”

The news comes as insurer AMI released car theft claim numbers for last year, including the most targeted car.

Across New Zealand, the Toyota Aqua was the top choice for car thieves, accounting for 11 per cent of vehicle theft claims.

Mazda Demio was the thieves’ second choice nationwide – although it was AMI’s most stolen car in Wairarapa, with 49 local claims.

Regionally, Auckland outstripped all other areas, with almost 3000 claims in 2022.

AMI also reported theft claims sharply increased across New Zealand, with 43 per cent more claims last year than the year before, a trend described as “growing”.

Wayne Tippett, AMI executive general manager claims, said theft claims had risen sharply in the past few years, with a covid related dip in numbers in 2020.

“Across New Zealand we received 8492 claims for vehicle thefts in 2022, up 43 per cent on the year before, and up 54 per cent from 2019,” he said.

“There are some things you can do to make your car less attractive to thieves, such as locking it, removing any valuables, and parking off-street or in a busy, well lit area.”

Tippett also advised people to make sure the sum insured on their insurance was up to date.

“If the worst happens and your car is stolen and written off, you want to make sure your sum insured is at an appropriate level for you car,” he said.

Miller also advised people to take sensible precautions to make their homes and vehicles less appealing to criminals, including locking all doors and windows – even when asleep at night – maintaining a record of serial numbers of expensive electronic items, and keeping valuables out of sight.

He also noted installing an alarm and getting sensor lights is a good idea.

People who notice suspicious activity around their own or someone else’s property should call police straight away on 111.

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