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Rural crime on the rise

Rural crime on the rise
Ashburton's Neighbourhood Support coordinator Sue Abel. PHOTO SHARON DAVIS

Rural Mid Canterbury is seeing an uptick in reported crime, but the Ashburton central business district is the main target for thieves in the district.

Overall crime levels are relatively consistent at around 69 or 70 reported incidents a month and June was no exception, with 69 reported crimes, according to Neighbourhood Support Ashburton.

However, there was a spike in May with 79 offences acknowledged by the support group, said coordinator Sue Abel.

She said thefts from rural areas were increasing but most burglaries and thefts - the most prevalent crime in the district - happened in the CBD.

"Businesses would be seeing quite a bit of it," she said.

In May there were 58 burglaries and thefts, 19 of which were were commercial.

In June, 26 of the 49 burglaries and thefts were commercial. The remainder of June's crimes were "related to wilful damage, graffiti and arson", she said.

Of the 13 crimes in the first week of June, seven were thefts and burglaries - and three of those were from local businesses, Abel said.

In the second week, crime went "off the scale" and hit a total of 30 and then pulled back for the following two weeks.

Abel said Neighbourhood Support wanted to remind people to lock up their homes and businesses and not to leave valuables in vehicles.

This included tradies' tools, which were "highly regarded by thieves", she said.

By Sharon Davis