More burglars dodging arrest

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 02/04/2014

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Burglaries rose in the Waikato last year and fewer of them were solved.

Waikato Police yesterday claimed the calendar year data, released by Statistics NZ , showed small steps in the right direction.

The region's overall reported crime rate dropped 1.5 per cent over 2013.

Acting district commander, Detective Inspector Chris Page, described it as "small steps to success" that continue a downward trend over the past five years.

"This drop represents less victims and comes on the back of last year's drop of 7.5 per cent," he said.

"Across the district the number of murders, assaults, robberies and violent crime all dropped. Other reductions included the number of fraud, drug, weapons and public order offences reported."

Page said the year's number of reported crimes per 10,000 head of population was the second lowest since 1996.

"All this leads me to believe that together, police and the community they serve are working to ensure the Waikato is a safe, family friendly place to be."

Burglary statistics weren't mentioned.

And as Waikato's former district commander Win van der Velde said before he stepped down earlier this year, the region's main problem is dishonesty crime.

Latest data suggests it is getting worse.

Officially, burglaries come under the "unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter" offence type and in 2013 there were 6046 cases reported in the Waikato. Put another way, the figure equates to 16.6 per day. It's also 5.3 per cent more than 2012. Not only were there more of them, but fewer of them were resolved.

A case is considered "resolved" when a suspect appears in court - regardless of whether anyone is actually convicted.

The resolution rate in 2012 was 15.2 per cent and that dropped to 11.2 per cent last year.

Nationally, the number of reported burglaries dropped 1.3 per cent and there was a corresponding resolution rate of 13.8 per cent. Hamilton city was the exception in the Waikato. The number of city burglaries, 3356, was 1.7 per cent down on 2012. However, the resolution rate also dropped from 12.9 per cent to 9.6.

The problems appear worse in rural areas and regional towns. There was a massive 26 per cent increase in eastern Waikato to 1416 and a corresponding drop in resolution rates from 18 per cent to 14.8 per cent. Western Waikato fared better recording a 5.7 per cent rise to 1274. Resolution rates there plunged from 19.4 to 11.5.

Meanwhile, overall recorded crime in the Bay of Plenty fell by 7.4 per cent, following a 7.1 per cent reduction in 2012, making it the lowest crime rate since 1995. All four areas within the Bay of Plenty District recorded a reduction for the first time since 2008.

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Rotorua led the way in 2013 with a reduction of 11.2 per cent, followed by Eastern Bay of Plenty with 7.9 per cent, Taupo with 6.6 per cent and Western Bay of Plenty with 4.2 per cent.

- Waikato Times

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