Wednesday, 24 December 2008 - 12:36pm |

Don't make Christmas a gift to burglars

2 min read

The joy of receiving that new hi-tech gadget for Christmas may be short-lived if you don't take some basic crime prevention measures. That's the message from police in Palmerston North over the festive holidays.

Children and adults alike will be ripping open boxes containing, TVs, computers, games consoles and other sought after technology. As this 'hot property' takes pride of place in the home, the boxes are often discarded outside for recycling.

"It's like putting an advert in bright lights over your home saying 'look what I got for Christmas, come and burgle me'," said Detective Sergeant Tim Moffatt. "These are the simple things that in the excitement of Christmas so many people just don't consider. Keeping the boxes hidden from view and then taking them to a recycling depot could be all it takes to prevent you from having an intruder in your home."

Other measures being advised are:

  • Make sure your house, vehicles, sheds and garages are secured at all times  • Keep valuables and wrapped presents out of view.  • Make the house look lived in - put lights on automatic timers, have someone open and close curtains and take the post in  • Let neighbours know if you are going away  • Look out for each other - if neighbours are away keep an eye on their home  • Make a list of property and record serial numbers  • Mark your property so it can be easily identified if recovered  • Take photos of unique items such as jewellery and ornaments  • Keep important documents and valuation certificates in a safe place. If possible store copies with a trusted friend or relative.  • Report suspicious activity to police

Sadly many home owners also get lulled into a false sense of security because they have home insurance and can replace the stolen items, but many don't consider the sentimental things within their homes that they may also lose.

"I highly recommend taking out home insurance," said Mr Moffatt; "but you still need to think beyond the higher value material items. You might be able to replace the computer but what about the family photos and memories stored on it? These are the things that so often get overlooked. In one burglary in the town a student had his laptop stolen complete with his thesis that hadn't been backed up. It's these that are irreplaceable and just add to the stress and trauma of being burgled.

"All we want is for people to have a safe and enjoyable holiday so just take a little time out to protect what is precious and then have fun."

Media enquiries should be referred to Detective Sergeant Tim Moffatt on 06 351 3600.