Serious crime rises in Taranaki

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 08/04/2014

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Serious crime in Taranaki is continuing to rise, the latest police crime statistics show.

The region's crime statistics for the year ended December 31 show that overall crime increased in the district by 2.6 per cent, 7036 to 7221. However, a closer look at the numbers shows sexual assaults and related offences leapt by 41.4 per cent, from 87 to 123; abduction, harassment and related offences rose by 15.6 per cent, 263 to 304; burglaries and break-ins increased by 20.4 per cent, from 668 to 804; thefts jumped 18 per cent, from 1695 to 2000; and fraud was up by 16.8 per cent, from 185 to 216.

Meanwhile illegal drug offending recorded one of the district's biggest drops of 37.5 per cent, from 565 to 353 cases.

Area commander Inspector Blair Telford said the rise in crime was not pleasing.

"We will be looking into specific crime types to identify areas where we can focus our prevention activities, as well as evaluate current tactics and if necessary develop and implement new crime prevention tools and plans," Telford said.

He said an increased trust and confidence in police might be a factor in the increase in sexual assaults reported, with victims feeling more confident to report them.

"We are always looking at ways we can work better and improve our service to the community. Working alongside the community, partner agencies, community groups, and Maori wardens is crucial in preventing crime and re-victimisation."

Telford said despite the reduction in drug offences police would be continuing to target offenders.

"We had a number of successes in the last year targeting the suppliers of methamphetamine and other drugs and we will continue to focus on apprehending those who peddle drugs in communities."

The numbers came as no surprise to Taranaki's Crown solicitor Cherie Clarke, who says her case-load has remained at a high level for the last 2 years.

"We certainly haven't, in the district court and high court trials, seen any decrease in what we are dealing with for serious crimes," Clarke said.

She said the crimes included sexual abuse, serious violence and serious drug and fraud cases.

She said eight to nine years ago the Crown solicitor's office was dealing with one, maybe two high court trials a year, now it was three to four annually while the district court case-load had also significantly increased from between 25 and 30 trials.

"Now . . . they are consistently sitting about 40 and can go higher."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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