According to an article in Stuff the French, German and Argentine Embassies have all warned about theft in New Zealand.
It appears that the problem of thefts from tourists may be more prevalent than is reported by the media in New Zealand.
The German embassy alone says it gets 1-2 people a week reporting passports stolen from vehicles.
“A number of incidents involving European tourists in Auckland and Rotorua generated media attention over the summer holidays, and last week the Argentine Embassy in Wellington advised tourists in New Zealand to take care with their belongings.
“There has been an increase in the number of reported robberies, especially of cars and camper vans left unprotected, in larger cities and popular tourist areas,” it said in a regular newsletter.
Romina Bocache, head of its consular section, said they decided to include the notice after being contacted by several young people whose belongings had been stolen.
There was no violence involved and it often occurred when people left their vehicles unlocked.
“It’s just to tell them to be careful because here it’s very quiet but you have to lock the doors and have normal precautions…”
The report says that the French and German embassies have also done similar, after their nationals have also fallen victim to New Zealand’s crime problem. Not least that of phsyical attacks on tourists – the most poignant in most people’s memories is probably the rape and serious assault of a five year old European tourist during a campervan robbery in Turangi.
More recently a couple of Swiss tourists had their campervan tyres slashed as they camped in Hapuku , just outside of Kaikoura.
The Stuff report went on to add:
“A spokeswoman for the German Embassy said there had been a warning about thefts from vehicles on its website for about two years.
A lot of people they arrive at the airport, get their campervan, they drive to the next supermarket around the corner and then they think well, I’m in New Zealand nothing will happen‘.
“It’s stupid from them because in Germany you wouldn’t leave your belongings in the car either.”
More than 65,000 German tourists and 8000 working holidayers visit New Zealand annually, the embassy usually gets one or two people contact it each week after having their passport stolen from a vehicle.
A warning of the French Embassy‘s website also warns of thefts from cars and campervans and recommends people take their valuable belongings with them…”
You can read the full report by Kate Chapman here
The British and Australian foreign offices issued their advice some time ago. The British FCO also warns about theft from hotel rooms in some tourist areas.
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
Safety and Security – Crime
Street crimes occur in major urban areas. Reports of thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars/camper vans in major tourist areas (e.g. the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown) have increased. There has also been an increase in the number of thefts from hotel rooms in some tourist areas. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. Do not leave valuables in hotel rooms, but use safe boxes when available. Keep passports, travellers’ cheques, credit cards, etc separate. See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
The risks of criminal activity are similar to Australia. You should exercise the same caution as in Australia.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money in New Zealand, such as credit cards, travellers’ cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in New Zealand.Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers’ cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.While travelling, don’t carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place…”
For many years we at E2NZ been warning tourists about the dangers of crime in New Zealand, and not just theft.
It’s good to see that the message may finally getting through,
You may also be interested in an increase in reported crimes during the rugby world cup last year. This is from a blog written in Oct:
“Despite warnings to visitors the rugby world cup has provided rich pickings for New Zealand’s criminal element.
We’re saddened to hear a number players and journalists have become victims of crime. They are among hundreds of tourists and visitors who are victims of opportunistic crime every year in New Zealand.
Potographers Barry Aldworth and Christiaan Kotze had almost $10,000 worth of property stolen when their car was broken into at a media shuttle drop off point. They lost “two computers, bags, peripheral photographic equipment, money, clothes, sunglasses and the tent they had been using for accommodation during their stay… unique Castle Tri-Nations Springbok jackets and clothing” and prescription medication.
Journalists Brendan Nel and Gavin Rich lost an iPod when their car was broken into at the secure underground carp park at the Pullman Hotel had their car broken into on Thursday last week after parking it in the secure underground car park at the Pullman Hotel in city centre.
Three days ago an American couple travelling in the Kerikeri Basin in the “lawless north” had their camper van broken into and lost a number of irreplaceable belongings including photographs and a travel diary. Elsewhere in Northalnd a Scottish couple’s car was broken into at the Haruru Falls car park, near Paihia. They lost a handbag containing money, passports, phones and medication. More here.
American newlyweds Meghan Scranton and Philip Wilson had travelled the world without incident until they reached Auckland just after the rugby world cup began.
In the three or four minutes they took to enjoy the view from top of Mount Eden thieves broke into their car and stole money and passports. Even their Kiwi hosts hadn’t prepared them for the risks they faced parking in the public car park at the monument.
Earlier in the tournament two rugby jerseys were stolen from Argentinian player Juan Manuel Leguizamon. They were shirts given to him by English and Romanian’s players that he’d played against during the pool games.
Update 21 October
Three foreign tourists (two English and one American) were injured and robbed in separate attacks in the small Northland town of Paihia. You can read more about it in the Northern Advocate: Fan robbed after locals turned nasty…”
At the time of the rugby world cup the British FCO also issued this specific advice
“The Rugby World Cup is likely to attract opportunistic thieves. Keep all possessions – especially your passport – secure. Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot. See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.”
Posts tagged tourist attacks