THE MACLEAY has been lucky to avoid the worst of COVID-19, but unfortunately, we are being forced to deal with a different scourge, a rise in property crime.
Local police officers have been dealing with a significant increase in break and enter dwelling crimes, as well as a spike in non-dwelling break and enters.
"We've seen a doubling in these types of offences during the last few months, theft from motor vehicles offences have also increased during this period as well, "Kempsey Officer in Charge, Inspector Martin Burke, told the Argus.
"Most of these offences are believed to be opportunistic; the offenders are spotting valuables through an open window, or an unlocked car.
"When COVID-19 restrictions first came into force, everyone was at home, but now with restrictions easing, people are becoming complacent, there are simple safety tricks that people aren't following."
Safety Tips To Lessen Your Risk of Property Crime
- Keep your car doors and windows locked.
- Take all your valuables with you when you leave the car - wallet, phone, keys, this also applies when you are at home.
- Park vehicles in a secure and well-lit area wherever possible, and if you're a tradesperson, remember to lock your trays and toolboxes.
- Never leave equipment or tools outside; this can attract unwanted attention.
- Ensure you have good quality lighting and fencing around your home, this can help restrict unauthorised access to your property.
- All windows and doors should be locked and double-checked before leaving home, gates and garages should also be secured.
- If you are going away and your home will be unattended, ask a trusted friend or neighbour to keep an eye on the place.
Common misconceptions often place the blame for these types of crimes with the young; however, Insp Burke said from what he's seen, offenders aren't exclusively from a particular group.
"These offences are not just isolated to young people; we are seeing adults commit these crimes as well," he said.
"There is no one group or age bracket that make up the majority of offenders."
Police do their best to enforce the law, but the past few years have also seen a focus on programs that try to show that not all interactions with law enforcement are negative.
"We are looking at not just enforcement of the law, but also engagement with the community, " Insp Burke said.
"There are several initiatives police are working on to engage with the local youth through organisations such as the PCYC.
"We see the PCYC as an important vehicle for steering young people away from anti-social behaviours."
Anyone with information about property offences is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333-000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.