Monday, December 11, 2023

Number of crime victims rise 46 per cent

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Police at the scene after a store in Moore Street, Howick, was broken into in August last year. Times file photo Wayne Martin

The number of Kiwis who have reported being the victim of crime has risen 46 per cent since 2017.

New police data shows victimisations have increased from 241,000 in 2017 to 350,000 in 2022, as revealed in figures released to National Party police spokesperson Mark Mitchell.

“Worse still, serious assaults resulting in injury have skyrocketed from 9,800 in 2017 to 23,000 last year,” Mitchell says.

“That’s a 140 per cent increase. This is on top of the increasing number of ram-raids with 886 incidents in 2022, one every 10 hours. A 551 per cent increase since 2018.

“These numbers are shocking. Many New Zealanders no longer feel safe in their homes and communities.”

Numerous local businesses have been targeted by thieves in the past 12 months.

They include jewellery stores, a fruit shop, alcohol stores, dairies, a sushi shop, petrol stations, a home appliance store, a pizza restaurant, a health food store, a vape store, a book shop, and the Ormiston Town Centre.

Mitchell says if National is elected at this year’s general election on October 14 it will target repeat youth offenders by establishing a Young Serious Offender category.

The party will also set up youth military academies and fund community organisations and iwi that have a proven track record in helping young people break the cycle of offending, he says.

“National will crack down on gangs by banning gang patches, stopping gangs gathering in public and accessing firearms, and stopping offenders associating with each other.”

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins recently appointed Hutt South MP Ginny Andersen as the new police minister.

She replaces Stuart Nash, who resigned the portfolio after admitting he’d asked Police Commissioner Andrew Coster in 2021 about whether police would appeal a particular court decision.

Hipkins says Andersen has a “strong and relevant background in this important portfolio”.

She worked for the police as a non-sworn staff member for about 10 years and has chaired Parliament’s justice select committee, he says.

At a recent post-Cabinet press conference at the Beehive, Hipkins said law and order “will continue to be a key area of focus” for his Government.

He was asked by reporters about what areas he wanted Andersen to focus on in the police portfolio.

Hipkins said work around retail crime is an important area of policy, “an area where I know the public want to see the Government making good progress, and so we’ll continue to do that”.

“The focus around youth offending, making sure we’re targeting those prolific youth offenders and getting them back engaged in something more positive so … the pattern of offending is broken.”

Reporters asked Hipkins for information on Andersen’s work when she was employed by the police.

He said he didn’t have the details in front of him but would get them.

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