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Life savers’ fall victim to thieves

Waikato Health and Police officials say it is disheartening to learn people putting all their time and effort into saving others’ lives are finding at the end of their shift that they are being targeted by thieves.

Hospital Liaison Officer for Hamilton Police, Constable Heath Cameron, says the call comes after four cars were reported to Police as broken into in car parks in and around the Waikato Hospital campus on Monday

“Each of those involved a member of Waikato Hospital’s staff finishing their shift and finding their car broken into. Methods of entry varied from smashing windows to interfering with locks and a task being undertaken by Police right now is working with hospital security to review what CCTV footage is available.

“These latest break-ins bring the total number of thefts from cars on or around the hospital campus since the end of July to seven reported to Police and it’s quite disappointing to see people who work hard at doing good for others in the community being treated in such a way.”

Mr Cameron said in the past people coming in for treatment or visiting patients haven’t been immune to the attention of thieves and though people coming into the hospital at such times had a lot on their plate Police ask they give a moment’s thought before they head out.

“If your friend or loved one is sick or injured or you’re heading in say as an out-patient you understandably have other things on your mind but what we ask is that you remove any valuables from your car, it’s following the old lock it or lose it principals.

“If you can’t take your valuables with you then at least secure them in the boot out of sight.”

Mr Cameron said in the Police’s experience opportunist thieves aren’t always targeting high value items.

“We’ve had cases of cars having side windows smashed simply to obtain loose change. Other attractive items include iPods and iPads, laptops, clothing and bags.

“It’s not just the hospital where people are falling victim. Overnight a 16-year-old youth was arrested after breaking into a car in Wellington St, Hamilton East. On interviewing him he admitted to stealing from 10 parked cars so it’s about removing opportunity from the thieves.

Mr Cameron said as part of continuous improvement around security at the hospital he met regularly with security staff and enhancements were due to be implemented on Monday.

No matter if you are going to the hospital, heading out shopping or parking your car for the night Police have a few tips to help you make your vehicle less attractive to opportunistic thieves.

At home

  • Where available, secure your car in the garage at home and keep the garage locked
  • If no garage available, park your car in the section behind the gate, make sure its locked and take any valuables out and if you can’t secure them in the boot
  • If you must park on the road, if possible park in a well lit area, ensure your car is locked and again, remove any valuables. Consider using an alarm, vehicle immobilizer or a steering lock
  • Keep spare keys on you, secure them at home or work- don’t leave them hidden on the vehicle, offenders will find them

In town or out shopping

  • Lock your car including the boot and sunroof
  • Park in busy, well lit areas
  • Where available, park in secured, monitored car park facilities
  • Avoid leaving shopping or valuables in your car, keep them out of view in the boot
  • If you don’t need them or can’t carry them, consider leaving clothing, bags, ipads, iphones, tablets and gadgets at home or if you can’t, secure them in the boot

Additional security options

  • Record the serial numbers of your GPS or car stereo on databases such as those available on Operation Snap, (www.snap.org.nz(external link))
  • Install a car alarm and electronic engine immobiliser, which prevents the engine from being started
  • Use a steering wheel lock, lockable fuel cap and wheel nuts
  • Etch registration or Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) on car windows, windscreens or headlights.

ENDS

Source: NZ Police

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