Signs a reminder on property safety

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COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Banding together to remind people to remove valuables from their cars are (from left) Rakaia Police senior constable Trev Gurney, Scott Baker of Rakaia Service Centre, Neighbourhood Support co-ordinator Sue Abel, Tanya Hulme of Rakaia River Holiday Park, Riley Smith of Rakaia Automotive, Neighbourhood Support volunteer Nicola Kelly and April Tamondong of Rakaia Mobil.
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Bright green and gold hangers are starting to appear in windscreens around Rakaia, thanks to an initiative between New Zealand Police, Ashburton District Neighbourhood Support and businesses in Rakaia.

The businesses include Rakaia Mobil, Rakaia Automotive, Rakaia Service Centre and Rakaia River Holiday Park.

The hangers are a reminder to people to not leave valuables in their vehicles.

Rakaia senior constable Trev Gurney was first involved with the initiative in Christchurch in 2016. The signs were given out in shopping malls.

PROTECTING VALUABLES Rakaia bushiness are getting on board with the NZ Police and Ashburton District Neighbour hood Support (NHS) initiative of giving out free hangers reminding people to remove valuables from their vehicles. Front Tanya Hulme from Rakaia River Holiday Park and rear Nicola Kelly of NHS prepare to get the hangers around Rakaia.

Gurney said he studied data following their release, and noticed the number of car burglaries had gone down.

‘‘The message about not leaving valuables in your vehicles has been delivered worldwide, including when I did it back in 2016,’’ Gurney said.

‘‘While I was handing them out in malls in Christchurch, a woman wanted to know more about them and thought they were such a great idea, she took a bundle back to Australia.’’

‘‘The hangers are a preventive measure for safety of our gear we may inadvertently leave in our cars, trucks and the like. It’s a reminder to us to take out our valuable equipment to keep it safe.

‘‘Lock the car doors close the windows securely park as safely as you can and take those items you value out of the vehicle,’’ he said.

It is hoped the free hangers will deter potential thieves from smashing windows, causing damage as they enter a car.

‘‘It takes just 30 seconds for someone to break into a car.’’

PROTECTING VALUABLES Rakaia bushiness are supporting the NZ Police and Ashburton District Neighbourhood Support (NHS) initiative of giving out free hangers reminding people to remove valuables from their vehicles. Left Riley Smith from Rakaia Automotive and right Scott Baker from Rakaia Service Centre with the hangers

If you can’t take your valuables with you, put them out of view. Don’t leave coins lying around in your car where they can be seen as this can be a motive for someone to break into your car for the cash, even if it is coins.

‘‘People spend lots of money buying their valuables and they need to look after them a bit better by locking their vehicles and keeping them safe,’’ Gurney said

Neighbourhood Support coordinator Sue Abel said the hangers were a tangible way to remind people of the importance of protecting their cars, valuables and themselves.

Abel said she would be getting the hangers to motels as those using motels can be targets overnight.

While initially rolling out in Rakaia the hangers will also be available at Ashburton Mobil, Community House, Safer Mid Canterbury, the Ashburton Courier office and Methven Police.

Neighbourhood Support Rakaia volunteer Nicola Kelly said she hopes these signs will make people think before breaking into a car.

She is keen to get the message out around Rakaia and has already looked at how she can spread the word among friends and fellow residents.

The idea behind the signs is to lessen the risk of your car being broken into because you have removed valuables.

‘‘It’s all about safety and prevention,’’ Abel said.