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Tourists ‘increasingly’ becoming targets of theft and burglary

Tuesday 17 May 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Crime, National

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Tourists ‘increasingly’ becoming targets of theft and burglary
PHOTO: CI NEWS. 17111636

Unsuspecting tourists are again being told to be mindful of security as reported thefts are increasing with visitor numbers in Rarotonga.

Police spokesman Trevor Pitt said tourists are increasingly becoming the targets of theft and burglary as visitor numbers on the island continue to climb.    

While break-ins held to a relatively low level last month, the indicators are that tourists will figure in higher numbers of incidents in the coming months as the busy season approaches, he said.

Three of the five burglaries reported in April were committed at tourist accommodation.

Four of the reported incidents of theft occurred at beaches.

“This month’s incidents look to be on a similar path to last month, which as I mentioned was three burglaries on visitor accommodation in the Takitumu district, and four thefts at beach areas. 

“Phones, devices and cash, are the main commodities, but thieves are grabbing unattended bags, which of course may contain multiple valuables.”  

Pitt said he was not releasing details of the reported stolen items specifically, “suffice to say that it’s advisable not to carry large sums of cash with you to the beach where you will be relaxing and your guard may be down, being too trusting of the beach environment”. 

“The increase in visitors will eventuate in a broader scope of unlawful activity, more opportunity for thieves in other words. 

“Visitors need to be made aware of the risks and vulnerabilities, like anywhere in the world.”  

Police are actively advising visitors at beach locations to ensure a high degree of security and oversight of their belongings and valuables.

On Friday, a visitor reported the theft of a backpack from inside a rental car at the Social Centre, Nikao. Money and valuables were reported stolen.

Earlier last week, another tourist reported the theft of his bag from his bike at the beach at Rutaki. Money and valuables were reported stolen.

“If anyone is enjoying the beach area and notices visitors with unsecured items, please help with useful advice and consider how such precautions can contribute positively to a recovering industry and economy,” Pitt added.

“Everyone must take note of the risks involved in leaving belongings unattended. Particular care should be taken around beach areas that provide convenient cover to those who may be lurking in wait, out of sight.

“Don’t carry large sums of money or high value items to risky locations.”