Tuesday, 17 June 2008 - 2:54pm |
National News

Police Urge Asian Community to be Vigilant

2 min read

Police are urging all sectors of the Asian community to be increasingly vigilant after a surge in bag snatching incidents in West Auckland and North Shore.

Sergeant Todd Bartlett says officers from the Law Enforcement Team [LET] are investigating numerous thefts where women have had their handbags stolen.

"More than twenty bag snatching incidents are being investigated in various locations that include Henderson and Takapuna. We believe there are other handbag thefts that are yet to be reported to us," he said.

"Our enquiries have established that a gang of criminals are targeting lone Asian women soon after they use an ATM cash machine, or while they are walking to their vehicle that's located in the local shopping mall's car park."

"In some cases a car has stopped behind a victim's vehicle blocking them in their park. Often the victim has just got into the car and placed their handbag on the front passenger seat. The thief has then rushed forward, opened the passenger door and snatched the handbag."

"The LET team's investigations include details of similar crimes in both Auckland and Counties Police Districts. The offenders appear to be working in groups, selectively targeting lone female victims, many of whom are Asian."

"Police officers are regularly patrolling popular shopping malls and car parks on foot providing community reassurance as well as educating the public about how to best prevent their personal handbags or purses being stolen."

Police offer the following suggestions to those in the Asian Community:

1. Where possible have a person accompany you when conducting activity such as exiting a bank, or accessing an ATM cash machine.

2. Where possible avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

3. Where possible refrain from openly carrying handbags or purses.

4. Before you enter your car place the handbag at your feet.

5. Be vigilant to everybody and be aware of your surroundings.

6. Call Police immediately whenever you see a suspicious vehicle.

7. Where possible advise a friend or relative of your movements

8. Be aware - do not take anything for granted

9. Be careful - satisfy your own safety when alone

10. Never hesitate - to call Police 111 in any emergency

Anyone with information on handbag thefts can contact Sergeant Todd Bartlett of the Police Law Enforcement Team on 09 481 0359.


Kevin [Kev] Loughlin

District Communications Manager / Media Advisor

Waitemata Police District

Phone 09 488 9758 - Extn 96308 / Mobile 027 281 0271

Email - kevin.loughlin@police.govt.nz