Police blame residents for rise in burglaries

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 September, 2008, 12:00am

A recent rise in West Kowloon burglary cases may reverse a decline in crime in the district over the past five years if residents do not show more diligence, police say.

In the first eight months, there were 923 burglary cases - 35 more than in the same period last year.

The number appears to be on the rise because the number of burglary cases in the first two weeks of this month was only a few short of the total for last month. Among the 85 cases by last Tuesday, 12 burglars entered through an unlocked front door and two had obtained keys.

'Sometimes people don't bother to change the lock when they rent a flat,' said Senior Inspector Jackey Tsue Chun-tung. 'Others are careless in handing out keys to their homes. There are also people who do not lock their doors when they are on short errands.'

Last Monday, a woman who left her door unlocked for 30 minutes returned to find it locked from the inside by a burglar who had climbed 14 floors of scaffolding and broken in.

'The burglar climbed back down the way he got up, with a few thousand dollars cash, a laptop and some jewels,' said Chief Inspector Sandra Chui Yui-luen. 'Luckily, the victim made a quick report to the police and we caught him.'

The regional crime prevention chief said carelessness, rather than any economic problems, was to blame for the increase in robberies.

To address the problem, Kowloon West police launched an operation on Friday, apprehending 49 suspects, including the owner of a dried- seafood store and two workers, who allegedly sold stolen goods.

Chief Inspector Tsang Yiu-wo said that many burglars stole valuable goods such as abalone, dried seafood and medicine from stores and offices, and sold them to vendors at a cut rate.

The operation recovered goods worth more than HK$140,000.