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Don't give burglars any presents

On the 2nd day of Christmas . . . don't give burglars any presents

You save your dollars and you battle through the Christmas crowds to hunt down those perfect gifts for the ones you love. Burglars aren't on your Christmas list so make sure they don't get any presents from you.

Operations Manager for Central District Police, Inspector David White said: "Every year there will be people putting presents under trees visible through windows and putting the cardboard boxes from those hi-tech gadgets out with the bins. You may just as well put a banner across the front door inviting the burglars in. Many thieves are opportunist so remove the temptation and you reduce the risk."

There are many things you can do to make your home more secure and less of an attraction to burglars.

• Make sure your house, vehicles, sheds and garages are secured at all times and use effective catches and locks. • Don't leave a spare door key hidden outside. • Invest in an alarm and security lighting. • Keep valuables and wrapped presents out of view. • Make the house look lived in - put lights on automatic timers and have someone open and close curtains and take the post in. • Make sure plants and trees, particularly close to doors and windows are well trimmed - don't give thieves a place to hide. • Mark your property so it can be easily identified if recovered • Make a list of property and record serial numbers • 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. • Have home insurance but remember no amount of insurance money can replace those items of sentimental value. • Don't put empty boxes from new purchases out with the rubbish as it advertises what is in your house - take them to be recycled.

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Getting to know your neighbours and then looking out for one another can be effective fight against criminals.

• Consider starting up or joining an existing Neighbourhood Support Group (0800 4NEIGHBOURS) • Exchange emergency contacts with your neighbours. • Let neighbours know when you're going away and see if they can collect your mail and newspapers and maybe open and close the curtains and park a vehicle on the drive.

Sometimes would-be thieves will knock on the door of a property to find out if anyone is in. If someone answers the door they may use a ruse to justify being there, such as looking for a lost animal or thinking it was their friend's address.

Some simple steps you can take are: • Install a peep-hole in your front door and a door chain. • If someone arrives unannounced try to ask them who they are and their reason for being there before you answer the door. • If you have an odd caller to your home, or see someone behaving suspiciously in your neighbourhood, contact the police to report it. (If you see a crime being committed call 111).

Useful links • www.ns.org.nz (Click on Fact Sheets in the left-hand menu)

This advice forms part of the 12 Crime of Christmas campaign by Central District Police who wish you a very merry and safe Christmas and New Year.

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