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Agencies join forces to combat car crime

Thursday, 4 December 2008, 4:31 pm

Press Release: Waitakere City

December 4, 2008

Speedos might be synonymous with fashion crimes – but in the case of ‘Operation Speedo’, it’s all about reducing crime of the vehicular kind.

In a multi-agency approach to reducing car crime over the Christmas holiday period, police and more than 200 community agency volunteers will join forces to patrol car parks at Waitakere’s popular beaches, dams and bush tracks.

Operation Speedo will run from December 22 to January 31, with the aim of reducing car thefts and break-ins at popular recreation spots and providing advice and reassurance to visitors. This is the third summer the initiative has been run and those involved are hoping to continue the trend which saw reported car crimes in Waitakere beach car parks drop by more than half on the previous year.

Operation Speedo is coordinated by Safe Waitakere’s Vehicle Crime Action Group and involves Police, Waitakere City Council Parking Enforcement and Civil Defence officers, Auckland Regional Council park rangers, Watercare Services, Arataki Visitor Centre staff, west coast lifeguards, Rural Fire Service volunteers, Waitakere City Council park rangers, Neighbourhood Support Waitakere, ICON Security personnel and members of the Piha, Bethells, Karekare surf lifesaving clubs.

Those on patrol will be able to keep in radio contact with each other and report any suspicious or criminal activity to police.

The council’s Safe Waitakere Crime Prevention Project Leader, Michael Alofa, says Operation Speedo is a great example of Waitakere people working together to reduce local crime.

“There is always an increase in car thefts and break-ins over the summer holiday period, predominantly in our beach car parks,” he says. “By providing a visible presence in popular recreation spots and having the community working together, Operation Speedo volunteers will be helping to keep visitors safer from crime and ensure they take away happy memories from their day out.”

While the Vehicle Crime Action Group will provide police with extra eyes and ears in reserve carparks, Mr Alofa also urges the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to police.

“We don’t want anybody’s beach outing or bush walk to be tarnished by a vehicle break-in. We can all play our part in reducing car crime, starting with our own vehicles. Be sure to lock all doors and never leave personal items of value in view,” he says.

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