Police target burglaries after recent rise

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says in the last year the number of home burglaries had increased by 10 per cent. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Police Commissioner Mike Bush says in the last year the number of home burglaries had increased by 10 per cent. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Home break-ins are being raised to a priority offence in a police shake-up addressing the recent rise in burglaries.

In the last year the number of home burglaries had increased by 10 per cent said police commissioner Mike Bush.

"While burglary rates are still below that of recent years, [this rise] is of concern to police and something we are determined to tackle."

Police were taking a number of steps to help prevent and resolve home burglary, including formally lifting the priority of dwelling burglary (house break-ins) from a 'Volume' crime to a Priority offence, with extra support from Intelligence groups, Mr Bush said.

There was also a national-level expectation that all house break-ins would be attended by constabulary or scene of crime officers within a reasonable time frame, something the Herald reported earlier this month following information received under the Official Information Act.

Ongoing district and national level operations to focus on burglary and youth offending were also part of the new guide for responding to burglaries, which followed the Herald's Hitting Home series from March.

The series revealed 164 burglaries went unsolved nationwide each day.

"Police recognise the huge impact that dwelling burglary has on individuals, families and communities. It is an invasive crime that seriously affects its victims," Mr Bush said.

"Too often, New Zealanders are left with a diminished sense of safety and security as a result of their home being entered by an offender. Some - particularly older members of our community - can be left feeling more vulnerable as a result."

Mr Bush said the steps showed police's commitment to reducing this type of offending and supporting victims.

"Given the nature of policing there will be occasions where we cannot attend a burglary for a range of reasons, including to adhere to the wishes of a victim," he said.

"However, my intention for staff to attend the vast majority of these incidents is clear."

The changes were expected to be completed in coming weeks, and staff would be "formally tasked" about the new approach within the next two months.

"These changes are designed to support the ongoing efforts of our people to deliver safer communities, free from victimisation."

Mr Bush reminded people to take preventative measures against burglary, like locking doors and windows, and reaffirmed police commitment to crime prevention.

"We know that crime is often driven by factors such as drug addiction, or lack of family support growing up, and police also continues to work across the board under its Prevention First operating model.

"But ultimately, police are committed to reducing victimisation and holding offenders to account."

- NZ Herald

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