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World Cup worries

The Aucklander
9 June 20

By Hayley Hannan

A wave of petty crime is spreading through the very suburbs where we're putting out the welcome mat for guests coming to the Rugby World Cup. Hayley Hannan reports.

"You've come to chase the crime, have you?" begins John Fryer, leaning back on the leather couch. It's a sunny morning, and the upstairs lounge doors onto the deck are open. The eye has a clear view of Mr Fryer's neighbours and surrounding suburbs.

There's been a recent spike in crime on Mr Fryer's quiet Mt Roskill street, and in the wider Sandringham, Mt Eden, Kingsland, Balmoral - and Eden Park - area.

"We've had two stolen cars left on the street. We've had a few cars removed from around here and had some dumped here. There was a kitten left over the road last weekend."

The leafy street runs directly between two busy main roads, he says, making it an ideal drop-off zone with an easy escape route for a quick getaway.

Neighbourhood Support figures show some of the worst statistics since December last year. The May figures show reports of 27 to 30 burglaries, up to 41 car break-ins, and up to 23 stolen cars a week.

Mr Fryer, who has lived on this road for 40 years, is the backbone of the local Neighbourhood Support group. He forwards weekly crime email alerts to the neighbourhood.

"I think in-fill housing has something to answer for. There's not enough off-street parking. People have to park on the road, which makes for easier picking [for thieves]."

St Lukes Community Constable, Stuart Mottashed, says there is a pattern to the recent crime statistics.

"We believe that it could possibly be a group or a gang working in the area. We're not too sure. It's yet to be confirmed. We say this because one street will be done on one side, and then the next side will be done the next day."

Poor weather can assist thieves as the noise from wind and rain muffles the sounds of breaking glass or car alarms.

The items reported stolen are handbags, iPods, iPhones, sunglasses, laptops - all tempting, expensive and easy-to-spot items.

Constable Mottashed urges people to take some responsibility and not leave anything in cars. "You see a handbag in the car; that's a great gift to the burglars. Don't leave anything lying out in view."

Although he's still doing his "homework" on the exact cause, police are increasing regular drive-by patrols of the affected areas.

In the coming months, more police will patrol the area before the Rugby World Cup.

An increase in crime is expected around the tournament, says Constable Mottashed.

Police are working out a strategy to combat the expected spike in the September to November period.

They are developing a targeted approach with a "dramatic" increase of staff to help fight the expected rise in car thefts, burglaries and petty crime.

Constable Mottashed says the strategy will be finalised in two to three weeks.

Avoid becoming a victim

St Lukes Community Constable Stuart Mottashed's crime-prevention tips:

  • Call the 24-hour crime hotline on 302 5400 if you see anyone or anything suspicious
  • Call 111 if you see a crime being committed
  • Stand in your driveway and note suspicious vehicles or characters; if offenders see this, they can be put off
  • Don't leave anything valuable in cars.


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