Brook St bands together
By Martin de Ruyter
Mr Wright decided to set up a Neighbourhood Support group after his new neighbours became the latest victims of the thefts when their garage was burgled in the middle of the day.
"These days thieves rely on people not knowing their neighbours and so not interfering," Mr Wright said.
"At the end of the day we just need to go back to the old school when everyone in the community looked after each other."
Sergeant in charge of communities Mal Drummond said that in the last three months Brook St, along with the Port Hills area and Tahunanui, had been hit with a significant increase in home burglaries.
There had been 58 burglaries in these areas since July, an increase of 10 to 15 burglaries a month and a significant number for Nelson, Mr Drummond said.
The burglaries appeared to take place between 9am and 3pm with the thieves targeting jewellery, cash, medications, laptops and alcohol.
"We believe these houses are targeted by a group or groups who look for property that is easy to conceal and dispose of.
"Of particular concern is the number of houses that are being broken into using available tools left lying around properties to gain entry to the house," Mr Drummond said.
Such burglaries could be prevented if neighbours took precautions to make their streets unattractive to burglars and report any suspicious activity to the police, he said.
"It's well known that people who target homes for burglaries are deterred from those who have neighbourhood watch signs. It does work."
Nelson has 380 registered Neighbourhood Support groups, with most of them in the Stoke area, Victory and Tahuna flats.
The recently affected areas have several groups but not full coverage, says Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Kim McDonald.
"What we generally see is an increase in groups being set up in response to crime in the area, but not beforehand," says Mrs McDonald.
However, Mrs McDonald and police are encouraging all neighbourhoods to form local support groups and not wait for crime to come to their streets.
For information on forming a Neighbourhood Support group in your area phone Kim McDonald on 03 546 3840.