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August 2010
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Drop in burglaries follows more focused approach

A coordinated approach has been instrumental in reducing burglaries in Christchurch South, says Criminal Investigation Branch Tactical Coordinator, Senior Sergeant Greg Murton.

The area has experienced a 13 percent decline in dwelling burglaries over the past 12 months, compared with the previous 12 months, with offences down from 1774 to 1543.

A Christchurch South Intel member recovers stolen jewellery from a ditch after a coordinated investigation led to an offender confessing to nine recent burglaries in Selwyn.
Photo: Constable Steve Rochford

“That’s 231 families whose homes have not been broken into,” says Greg.

“A drop in the number of burglaries helps community reassurance, as burglary is arguably the crime that most affects members of the community.

“Anyone who has been burgled knows the devastating effect it can have, especially on older people, who may already feel vulnerable in their own homes.”

Area Commander Southern Canterbuy, Malcolm Johnston says Police are taking an overview of the city’s burglary problem and the Police response to it.

“The tactics we’ve employed are not new, but they’re being actively managed and directed,” he says.

“We’ve been very proactive in educating the public about people behaving suspiciously in their neighbourhood, and I’ve given numerous talks to community groups and written many articles for our local papers.

“Burglars nearly always knock on doors to ensure no one’s home and if someone answers the door they always ask the same sort of questions, such as ‘is this 25 Smith St?’ or ‘does Jo Smith live here?’. This behaviour is a real giveaway they’re burglars. We need to do everything we can to find and deal with these offenders.”

Christchurch South covers the southern Christchurch suburbs of Hornby, Riccarton and other suburbs, as well as all of the Selwyn rural area.

“We’re making an extra effort to respond quickly to reports of suspicious activity,” says Greg.

“Because there are a number of patrols on the road on any given day, we now have all available units attending reported suspicious activities

“As a consequence we’ve had some good arrests of active burglars casing houses and committing offences. This increases the levels of paranoia among offenders too.”

Patterns of offending in particular suburbs have been noted in daily intelligence (intel) reports, and patrolling of these streets on subsequent days has resulted in patrols tipping out and arresting burglars for a number of offences.

“A series of four burglaries in the suburb of Hillsborough were identified in the daily intel report and group staff advised that morning at the daily briefing,” says Greg.

“The same day they caught the burglar in the same suburb on his bicycle preparing to commit further offences.

“Stolen property from the previous burglaries was found in his possession.”

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