by ROWENA OREJANA
HAMILTON — Police are asking parishioners of the Cathedral of the
Blessed Virgin Mary in Hamilton to report incidents of car break-ins
to them, no matter how small the value of the theft.
Incidents of break-ins and thefts from cars around the cathedral
have again risen since the end of last year. However, actual figures are not available to the police, as most victims just inform the cathedral.
Waikato Police District Communications Manager Andrew McAlley
stressed the need to report the crime.
“We keep a regular update and we plot where offences take place. So,
if you’ve got four or five incidents happening thatare reported, we could actually record those and have people in the area at
the time to try and catch the people responsible,” he said.
Mr McAlley said the church, on their initiative, set up a roster of
people to keep an eye on the cars. The volunteers walk around in fluoro vests during the 7.30am and 10am Masses — the time when most of the break-ins have occurred.
“That’s the sort of thing we applaud. But we really, really need to
know what’s happening,” he said.
Mr McAlley added that even thefts of low value need to be reported. “It’s all important. We operate on a system called police
in excellence and intelligence- led policing. The offences all get loaded up in an electronic map and they’re colour coded,” he said.
The system allows someone coming up at a later shift to pull out the
records and prioritise the areas that show a spike in crime.
“The other thing is the normal message around not leaving things in
your car. If you can’t lock them in the boot, take them with you,” he said.
He said people carrying out the offences do not care. They will cause $200 worth of damage to the car just to get $3 worth of coins.
“If you’ve had your car window broken and all they’ve taken is $5, we’d still want to hear about it. Even small matters can link, because if they get away with a car theft at the church, it might
make them bolder to have a go at something else.
“It may not be crime of the century in terms of the big scheme of things, but it can be the difference,” he said.