Peer pressure and consequences 

I start today with a good catch story. Readers of my last few columns will be aware of the recent increase in youth offending and our call for the community to assist.

Last weekend, a vehicle was stolen from inside a Waipā business in a night-time burglary. Six young people then allegedly took it for a joy ride through Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Ōhaupō and into Hamilton. They failed to stop for police in Hamilton before eventually getting the vehicle bogged off road.

One was apprehended at the scene and the majority of the remaining youth were handed into Cambridge police by their parents soon afterwards. They are being dealt with through the Police Youth Aid Service.  This incident highlights how offending by a young person can quickly escalate from what is initially minor crime – shoplifting and graffiti – to much more serious crime with the potential for real harm and loss to be caused.

It also shows the role that peer pressure can play where young people agree to do things in a group, that they may not have otherwise. We are most appreciative of the role that the families of these youth played in enabling us to hold them to account.

I also want to say how good it is to see local businesses taking preventative action and installing and enhancing CCTV coverage on their premises. Having clear footage of a crime being committed is the best evidence.  When designing your CCTV network, it is always a good idea to position one of the cameras at the front of your business capturing the business frontage, driveway/carpark and/or pavement outside. Where an offender leaves in a vehicle, having the ability to view that vehicle and gain its registration and description is most helpful.

It increases the chance of patrols being able to locate the vehicle as it makes its getaway, and of being able to follow up with investigation at a later stage. Because criminals often swap out number plates, seeing the vehicle make, model and colour as well as the number plate is key.

Footage of the vehicle and its occupants can lead police to obtain further identifying features of the offenders and any associates who may be waiting outside.

Key factors for any CCTV system are knowing how long the footage is stored before being overwritten and having staff onsite who are able to access, review, save and download footage when required. Keep cameras clean and clear of cobwebs and other obstructions and ensure they are working.

I hope the last weekend of the school holidays goes well for those with school aged children. Have fun and stay safe.

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