Thieves Working 9-5

Briana Domjen - The Sunday Telegraph - 1st April 2012

Daylight Robberies

Stay safe this Easter and take safety precautions while away from your home! Daylight break and enters and malicious damage to property is on the rise!

NSW criminals are increasingly working business hours, breaking into homes, stealing cars and committing thousands of assaults from 9am-6pm.

While their victims were on the job, criminals undertook 25,818 break and enters and stole from more than 18,000 cars, according to NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures from October 2010 until September 2011.

The peak time for a nonalcohol related assault was between 9am and 6pm, with almost 23,000 incidences reported to police. Officers also reported more than 34,000 cases of malicious damage to property when residents were at work, while retail stores were in the firing line from shoplifters from noon until they shut their doors at 6pm.

Australian Institute of Criminology research director Dr Rick Brown said the figures fitted in with what he knew about this types of crime and peoples routines. ‘‘Theft from motor vehicles, robberies, malicious damage to property, motor vehicle theft and break and enter are largely what we might call predatory, street-level crimes, that rely on an offender targeting a vulnerable location,’’ he said.

Using public transport or being on the street makes people a target for criminals, he said. ‘‘When at work, they are more likely to leave their cars in carparks, which offenders know wont be returned to for several hours.

‘‘Daytime is also when people are most likely to leave their houses unoccupied, and so making it an easier target for break and enter offences. ‘‘These patterns are well known to the police, who will use crime-pattern analysis to identify times of day and specific locations that are most affected by crime.’’

Daylight robberiesNSW Police Superintendent Helen Begg said each Local Area Command regularly reviews crime patterns to determine the most appropriate use of officers to prevent and target criminal activity. ‘‘This helps in directing additional patrols or other policing activities as well as planning special operations,’’ Ms Begg said.

‘‘This provides a localised intelligence-based policing approach. Crimes such as break and enter and steal from motor vehicle are opportunistic and it is important the community work with police when it comes to reducing opportunities for criminals.’’

Ms Begg recommends a few simple precautions to reduce your risk of being targeted. ‘‘If you carry a purse or bag, hold it under your arm or in front of you,’’ she said. ‘‘Record the descriptions, models and serial numbers of all your valuables to assist in easy identification.’’