Burglaries, break-ins on the rise

Burglaries and break-ins are increasing in the Southern district but police are unable to say why.

In the year to March, more than 500 reports of burglary, break-in or unlawful entry were received by police in Otago and Southland, an increase of 5% on the same period last year.

In a written response to questions from Otago Daily Times regarding concerns that Otago was suffering from a spate of burglaries and break-ins, Southern District prevention manager Inspector Matenga Gray admitted they were on the rise.

''We acknowledge there has been an increase in victimisation numbers related to burglary in the Southern district.''

The increase in burglaries and break-ins makes sobering reading for Dunedin, Queenstown-Lakes and Central Otago residents.

In March this year, the most recent data set available, there were 115 reports to Dunedin police, a 50% jump on the 77 reported in March 2017.

ODT Graphic
ODT Graphic
Reported burglaries and break-ins were up 61% in Central Otago and 39% in Queenstown Lakes for the first three months of 2018, compared with the same period last year.

That said, the number of reported burglaries and break-ins remained steady in Invercargill, and decreased in the Gore, Clutha and Waitaki districts. Across Otago overall, numbers spiked in October last year and have remained stubbornly high.

Last week, police warned homeowners to be vigilant and consider installing security alarms after several burglaries in Dunedin's affluent hill suburbs of Roslyn, Maori Hill and Belleknowes.

Police did not address ODT questions asking if the current spate of burglaries were linked, or were the work of a sophisticated, professional group of burglars.

They also did not specifically respond when asked why the numbers of burglaries and break-ins in the Southern district were not decreasing, as they were nationally.

However, research shows one possible reason for the sudden jump in burglaries could be the region's long hot summer.

A 2011 study by University of Canterbury researchers James Horrocks and Andrea Kutinova Menclova examined the effect of weather on crime in New Zealand.

It reported a significant positive correlation between temperature and property crime, up to 21degC, at which point reports of theft and burglary began to decrease.

The study also showed a rainy night was no deterrent to burglars - precipitation had a negligible effect on the number of reported burglaries.

Reports of burglaries in the region have continued to roll in this week.

Acting Senior Sergeant Trevor Thomson, of Dunedin, said two farm bikes and a four-wheeler worth a combined $14,000 were stolen on Monday night from a cow shed in a Toko Mouth Rd property.

Snr Sgt Thomson said the offenders ''obviously did know'' the bikes were in the shed.

The previous night in St Kilda, between sunset Sunday and dawn Monday, a Toyota Levin parked up a driveway at a Prince Albert Rd home was broken into, he said.

''A big boom box, wiring adapter and some loose change were stolen from the vehicle.''

Police were also warning residents of Corstorphine, Kew and St Clair to ensure their car doors were locked, following a series of opportunistic thefts from unlocked vehicles.

george.block@odt.co.nz

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