Call it ill preparedness or indifference to reality, Indian homes have become easy targets for burglars in recent months in East Auckland, especially in Howick, Pakuranga and Dannemora.
As well as breaking into homes when families are away, thieves are becoming defiant with multiple visits during day and night, incessant to the so-called increased police presence in the area.
A home was in the process of being burgled in Dannemora last month as its owners returned home. To her horror, the woman of the house saw two robbers making good with their loot.
“Our two young daughters were in their room sleeping. We had only gone to the nearby supermarket for about 20 minutes,” she said.
Another man, living in the same area, found a vacant spot where he had parked his BMW overnight on the driveway.
“I was too tired to put the car in the garage; besides, it has always remained out during the day,” he said.
Four weeks on, there is no news about his car and the Police say they can do nothing.
The most audacious of all was an incident that occurred in a Howick home. The family, comprising a married couple and their teenage daughter were in the living room entertaining guests. Three hours later, they found all their jewellery missing from the adjoining bedroom.
“We lost more than $500,000 in studded jewellery, gold watches and other precious stones. We had no insurance,” the owner’s wife said.
Burglars can almost smell an “Indian home” says Counties Manukau Constable Gurpreet Singh Arora.
“It is not uncommon for many people to give away easily their identity and ethnicity. Indians are identified by a unique flag flown over their homes (obviously a religious symbol), vehicles with personalised plates that suggest their place of origin, absence of alarm systems and other factors,” he said.
Burglars know through their previous visits or through their counterparts that many Indians keep large amounts of cash, jewellery and other valuables at home, he said.
“People should consider storing these in a safe or in bank vaults and installing an effective alarm system. Sensor lights are a deterrent. It would also be useful to have a record of the valuables kept at home and elsewhere,” Constable Arora said.
Burglars usually reconnoiter the place they intend to burgle concealing themselves behind trees and bushes. It is therefore essential to have these trimmed, he said.
“We advise people to keep their doors and windows always locked. While going on holiday, leave your home with an ‘occupied look,’ and do not leave messages of absence in answering machines,” he said.
Photo Caption: Gurpreet Arora