Fewer burglaries over the holidays after major police initiative

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
A major police initiative has put a big dent into the number of burglaries committed in Canterbury over the holiday period.

Break-ins in Canterbury have dropped by more than a third - a direct result of a new strategy, police say.

From December 15 to January 13, there were 190 reported burglaries.

For the same period over the 2018/19 holiday season, there were 309 reported burglaries.

Canterbury tactical crime squad head Detective Sergeant Damon Wells said the decrease was “enormous”.

"For me, that is a huge drop. That’s about 120 fewer (burglary) victims," he said.

Detective Sergeant Damon Wells. Photo: Supplied
Detective Sergeant Damon Wells. Photo: Supplied
Several police teams, including the tactical crime squad, neighbourhood policing teams, youth offending teams and Maori, Pacific and ethnic services teams, worked together to target young offenders in particular.

The push targeting young offenders saw an increase in bail checks and home visits for people of interest.

"It creates this idea that ‘well, I can’t sneak out because police are visiting me more often,’" Detective Sergeant Wells said.

Known prolific adult burglars were also visited at home by police.

Police also patrolled areas where burglaries have been increasing.

"We actively flooded the areas with staff to make our presence visible and act as a deterrence," said Detective Sergeant Wells.

Officers sometimes operated in plain clothes and unmarked cars.

Before Christmas, one of the hot spots was the Wigram Skies area following a spate of burglaries.

"We’re doing drive-throughs to deter," Detective Sergeant Wells said. 

"If they see a cop car, they might think twice about doing something.

"It’s about putting those resources in and we are getting slightly better at doing that. It’s working."

Detective Sergeant Wells said the strategy to stop burglaries also involved telling the public how to prevent their homes being broken into.

Along with targeting people of interest, police are continuing to work on education, especially in areas they identify as ‘hot spots'.

Detective Sergeant Wells said this year the police Facebook page would play a role in identifying suspects.

It will enable the public to assist them and know who might be operating in their neighbourhood.

Asking the public through Facebook to identify people from CCTV is working well and that will be a “big push” this year, he said.

“We will be taking a hard-line approach and are doing a big push to put people’s faces out there.”




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