Editorial: We must help keep crime at record low

By Dylan Thorne

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I've never been the target of a serious crime and I am grateful for it. Years ago, I had some items stolen from a friend's car after a thief smashed a window and raided the interior while we were out surfing on the West Coast.

I remember the anger we felt on returning to the car after spending several hours out in the ocean on a blistering hot day.

It soured what had been a fantastic day.

The thing that stood out to me was how the items they stole - a couple of tape cassettes, a jersey, a wallet (containing about $20) and a leg rope - hardly covered the cost of the car window they smashed.

On the scale of crime, it was a minor event. It didn't stop us surfing at the spot again. There was no ongoing trauma, no major financial fallout, no lasting injuries.

Some are not so lucky.

We often hear reports of senseless crimes that leave victims traumatised and families devastated.

As well as dealing with the aftermath of crime, police play an active role in preventing it.

In the Western Bay, it appears our police are making major in-roads in this area.

Latest crime figures released yesterday show recorded crime in the Bay of Plenty has fallen to its lowest rate ever - with the biggest drop in the Western Bay area, according to police statistics.

Recorded crime in the Bay of Plenty continued to fall in the year to June 30, 2012, with a decrease of 8.6 per cent - one of the biggest reductions in the country.

When the population rise during this period is taken into account, it is the lowest crime rate ever recorded for the district.

Fiscal year figures released yesterday show that a total of 34,886 offences were recorded, 3289 fewer offences than in the previous year.

The Western Bay of Plenty also recorded a dramatic 17.4 per cent drop in crime during the period.

The figures released yesterday show that a total of 12,020 offences were recorded.

This is 2525 fewer offences than in the previous year.

As the population in Western Bay also rose slightly, the actual drop per 10,000 head of population was 18 per cent.

Area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton credits the fall to a wealth of co-operative work between his staff, partner agencies and the community.

Keeping the streets safe is a challenging occupation and police officers often put themselves in harm's way to keep others safe. The least we as a community can do is not let criminal behaviour go unreported.

The challenge for the community and the police - now that the crime rate has hit a record low - is to keep crime tracking downwards.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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