Press Release: New Zealand Police
"Police responding to post-earthquake burglaries"
Police say burglars targeting homes in the Canterbury region following this morning’s earthquake can expect to be dealt with when caught.
“I can assure Cantabrians that these burglaries will be investigated rigorously and those responsible will be held to account where appropriate,” says Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price.
Since shortly after midnight Police has received 19 reports of burglaries at Canterbury properties, both residential and commercial.
“It is extremely disappointing that at a time when people are facing such a traumatic event and communities are coming together to support one another, there are others who are only interested in taking advantage,” Mr Price says.
“This sort of offending really scrapes the bottom of the barrel, especially for Cantabrians who have endured so much heartache in similar circumstances over the last five years.
“I want to assure residents that Canterbury Police will do everything in their power to find the people responsible for this disgusting spate of crime.”
While some of the burglaries reported today may have occurred prior to the earthquake, it does appear that a number of properties were definitely broken into while their occupants were evacuated following the earthquakes.
In response, Police have committed to increasing the numbers of staff carrying out reassurance patrols in the region.
If people witness crime or are concerned about suspicious behaviour we encourage them to follow the normal processes and contact Police immediately.
“We ask that people check their properties to see if any belongings are missing and if they are, alert Canterbury Police on 03 363 4700,” says Mr Price.
“We understand people may have concerns about the security of their homes following evacuations, but it is important people do not return until it is made clear by the appropriate authorities it is safe to do so.
“Keeping people safe is the main priority, but rest assured we are still very firmly focussed on dealing with crime as well as the earthquake response and reassurance.
“This is also a timely reminder for people to reconnect with neighbours and ensure community looks after community,” says Mr Price.