Police crackdown targets Illawarra crime hotspots

At least 12 people have been nabbed as part of a crackdown on crime in the Dapto area in recent weeks, with police vowing to maintain patrols and urging residents to stop “making it easy” for would-be thieves. 

HOTSPOTS: Lake Illawarra police say there has been a spike in the number of thefts from cars in the Dapto and Koonawarra areas in the past month.

HOTSPOTS: Lake Illawarra police say there has been a spike in the number of thefts from cars in the Dapto and Koonawarra areas in the past month.

Thefts from motor vehicles, stolen credit cards being used to commit paywave frauds and people spotted acting suspiciously near cars have been among a growing number of incidents in Wollongong’s southern suburbs. 

In one instance, police said a man walked into a home on Northcliffe Drive at Berkeley, which wasn’t his, in an attempt to evade officers. 

It will be alleged the 37-year-old was found with a number of credit cards that were stolen from a motor vehicle. He was charged. 

In another incident, a man was charged with 19 offences – including 17 counts of dishonestly obtaining property by deception – after being apprehended on October 12.

Police allege the man broke into a vehicle on North Kiama Drive at Kiama on October 1 and stole a wallet.

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Credit cards from the wallet were then used in a number of paywave frauds. 

Acting Inspector Simon Day, from Lake Illawarra police, said there had been a spike in the number of thefts from cars in the Dapto and Koonawarra areas in the past month. 

The incidents prompted a police operation targeting property theft. 

Twelve people were arrested during October and further arrests have been made in the past week. 

In many cases, phones and wallets were taken from unlocked vehicles. 

Inspector Day said while police weren’t blaming individuals,  residents were urged to take steps to help combat the crimes. 

“Some of the cases we come across are troubling – there’s a car in a driveway outside a house or on the street outside a house, it’s unlocked and it’s got a laptop and an iPad in it, or a handbag with a purse,” Inspector Day said.

“It’s really making it easy for these criminals. Part of the message we want to get across is to assist us by removing valuables and locking the car.”

“We’ll obviously do our part in being out there at all times of the day and night.”