Richard Moore: Painful cost of burglary blight

By Richard Moore

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More police resources would help cut burglary rates say experts.
More police resources would help cut burglary rates say experts.

Having been burgled twice, I have taken an interest in a series of reports on thefts from homes in this country.

The most shocking statistic is that thieving swines get away with 164 burglaries a day.

That's 1148 a week... or 59,696 a year.

To put it another way, one in 75 residents of this country have their sanctuaries - that is their homes - broken into by scumbags each year and the culprits escape justice.

And, trust me, there is nothing less pleasant than coming home to discover your place ransacked.

According to the reports most burglars don't care about the psychological damage done to their victims, all they want is to be able to earn money the illegal way.

Many steal things to order and if you have what is on their shopping list then the nasty creeps are likely to have a go at your home.

I wanted to know how much burglars cost people in this nation and so consulted my good Phone-a-Friend, Mr Google. He said more than $1 billion a year.

That is on top of the billions shoplifting costs us.

Experts have come out and suggested five ways to reduce burglaries.

They say:

1. More police resources and operational focus to solve burglaries.

2. Intervene in troubled families to reduce the social and economic factors.

3. Minimum security standards for rental housing.

4. Prevention education and community action.

5. Prisoner rehabilitation to reduce re-offending.

Number one makes sense - either prevent thefts or stop thieves getting away.

To me number five is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, because the likelihood of rehab is pretty small.

Numbers two, three and four are long-term projects that need to be carried out along non-party political lines for the good of every voter and child in this country.

My guess is it will be dumped in the too-hard basket because there are more important things to spend time and money on - such as changing the flag.

But back to burglars.

I know you shouldn't wish for things because you don't know what you will end up getting, but I wish to be at home one day when a burglar strikes.

I can just imagine the look on his face when he sneaks around a corner and discovers me waiting for him.

It would be change-your-nappy time bucko as I dial 111. Or, if I was lucky, they may try to get away...

I think a brief meeting with me would do more to rehabilitate a burglar than hours of listening to wise advice and good intentions. And speaking of good intentions, it is my opinion that our judiciary needs to focus less on criminals and more on the victims.

Judges mean well and have a difficult job balancing punishment with not destroying a criminal's chance to turn their lives around but it seems some offenders just don't want to live honestly.

Recently, a woman appeared in the Manukau District Court on her umpteenth burglary charge.

The one-woman crime wave had been convicted 38 times before and her latest victim was an 87-year-old living in a retirement home. So this woman picks the hard targets.

Anyway, she was caught and brought before the courts where she was handed 200 hours of community service.

I think we should look at harsher punishments to deter recidivist thieves and would-be burglars. I would suggest we look at taking a leaf out of Sharia law when it comes to dealing with those who can't keep their fingers out of other people's pockets.

Heck, you can't nick stuff without hands can you?

- richard@richardmoore.com

- Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.

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