Police move to reassure tourists about break-ins

Thursday January 23, 2020 Written by Published in Crime
Tourism boss Halatoa Fua: Sincere apologies to burgled tourists. 20012219 Tourism boss Halatoa Fua: Sincere apologies to burgled tourists. 20012219

Tourists and visitors to the Cook Islands are being asked to take some responsibility when it comes to their personal security and safety following a spate of burglaries in Rarotonga.

Cook Islands Police Service said there has been no increase in the numbers of burglaries reported at holiday accommodation, and the majority of break-ins are at private homes.

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said tourists were soft targets as a result of complacency and failures to adhere to warnings.

“That’s if the accommodators are providing that dose of reality in the advice to their guests, as they should be,” Pitt said. 

Cook Islands Security director Chris Denny quoted a high number of unprotected holiday facilities but Pitt said unfortunately, that was in part a result of their failure to heed the advice of police and security.

Burglaries or break-ins were common offences in Rarotonga, Pitt said. “Plus there is aggravated robbery, which is a physically violent crime, and thankfully less common here.”

It was disappointing visitors to Rarotonga have been victims of burglaries recently, but it was not exclusive to the Cook Islands, he said.

Burglaries last month showed that break-ins at private homes were the majority of incidents reported to police. 

Figures from previous months also showed business premises were a target, more than accommodation facilities.   

The figures for January were being tracked but police were not anticipating any trend highlighting tourist properties.  “Visitors are at risk all the time. Their facilities are often picked on because offenders know these people have money and devices.”

Cook Islands Tourism chief executive Halatoa Fua said he wanted to offer sincere apologies to the affected visitors and hoped police would apprehend the culprits as soon as possible.

“We’ll correspond with the Cook Islands Police to understand latest crime trends and how we can collectively address the situation to ensure the security of locals and visitors are upheld,” he said.

The community, tourism operators and law enforcement working hand in hand would help alleviate this issue, he added.

Cook Islands Tourism advises all visitors to be aware of their personal security and safety at all times. “Always secure your valuables and personal belongings and ensure windows and doors are locked,” he said.

The Cook Islands Tourism accreditation scheme requires operators to provide storage facilities for guests to use and security measures to safeguard visitor experience.

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