Police advice aims to prevent more burglaries


After a spate of burglaries earlier this year, police in Cromwell are still looking for two people behind a series of break-ins at businesses in the town.
Constable Darren Kidd said they knew two individuals were involved in most of them, but had no further leads to identify who they were.
Police had CCTV footage from a break-in at the heritage precinct and had DNA off a cigarette butt from another burglary.
The DNA had not had a match on the police database, but if the perpetrator committed another burglary or was locked up for another reason, like damage to property, that would be flagged, Const Kidd said.
Police in Cromwell were embarking on a campaign with business owners to give them prevention advice.
This included removing cash from premises and leaving till doors open, with enough light inside that potential thieves could see there was no reason to break in, and having signage saying no money was left overnight.
‘‘It is all about making their shop less attractive to undesirables,’’ Const Kidd said.
Burglars were predominantly targeting money.
‘‘So when they are breaking in they are just going to the till and taking what is in the till, or they are looking for money.’’
For a crime to occur there had to be three things in equal measure, called a crime triangle: the three sides representing the target, offender and victim, he said.
‘‘The offender is an unknown quantity — we can’t control that, but the target, that is obviously something the offender wants.’’
So removing the opportunity for a thief to get the target reduced the likelihood of the offence taking place.
Due to ‘‘impressive growth’’, Cromwell was changing, and a change in mindset was needed as well, Const Kidd said.
As had happened in places like Queenstown, a boom in construction could lead to ‘‘undesirables’’ committing offences to fund their habits.
From a police perspective, the message was that Cromwell was not the ‘‘sleepy little town’’ that people had been living in for 20 or 30 years, so people needed to ‘‘up their game’’ and be more mindful of security, he said.

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