Howick and Pakuranga Times
Botany and Ormiston Times : Howick and Botany Times Wednesday September 24
10 — Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, September 24, 2014 www.times.co.nz 126800 126534 Focus on car crimes Police inspector Ann Wilkie is among officers working to stem a rise in the theft of motor vehicles across South-East Auckland. Times photo Chris Harrowell By Chris Harrowell THERE are few worse feelings for drivers than returning to where they parked their motor vehicle to find only an empty space. It’s something being experienced with more frequency by people across South-East Auckland. Counties Manukau East Police crime prevention manager, inspec- tor Ann Wilkie, says officers are determined to stop such offending. “We had 270 motor vehicles sto- len across the Counties Manukau Police district this month,” she told the Times. “South-East Auckland has had a 50 per cent increase in vehicle theft this year compared to at the same time in 2013 and youths are the main offenders.” In a proactive effort to combat such crime, several dozen police officers hit the streets from 11am- 7pm last Thursday as part of Oper- ation Focus. They included 10 staff from district headquarters, commu- nity police constables based at the Howick station, and members of the East Tamaki neighbourhood policing team. “If we have a certain type of crime trending up, we try to put additional police resources into tackling it,” says Mrs Wilkie. “Two months ago, theft from motor vehicles was increasing. “It seems the message about that is now getting across to the public as it’s coming down.” Operation Focus last Thursday had two main aspects. Some of the officers involved targeted known car crime hot spots. Others conducted bail checks on offenders previously involved in vehicle crime. Used also was Counties Manu- kau Police’s automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) van. It’s equipped with technology that scans the registration number plates of passing vehicles and iden- tifies those of interest. “Operation Focus is intelligence driven,” says Mrs Wilkie. “We often do it on a Thursday as it has later shopping hours, so there are more people out and about. “Our main areas of concern for vehicle crime are Pakuranga and Pakuranga Heights, especially around Riverhills Avenue and Udys Road. Also Huntington Park, Botany Town Centre’s public car park and surrounding streets, and Flat Bush and East Tamaki.” Mrs Wilkie says vehicles are also frequently stolen from outside the area and then dumped in South- East Auckland. “People who steal a vehicle are either taking it for a joyride, using it to get from one place to another, or to commit another crime. It’s a problem for us at the moment. “All it takes is for a small group of criminals to decide stealing cars isthethingforittodoandithasa huge impact. “The most commonly targeted vehicles at the moment are Mazda, Subaru and Nissan brands, and older cars, as they are easier to steal.” Mrs Wilkie says motorists can take steps to help prevent their vehicle being taken. “People should consider where they leave their vehicle and park in their garage or driveway if pos- sible,” she says. “It’s a good idea to get a kill switch installed in it and disconnect the car’s battery when it’s not being used.
Howick and Botany Times Wednesday September 17
Howick and Botany Times Wednesday October 1 2014