Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Burglaries drive up crime rate

An overall increase in the crime rate has been driven by burglaries. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Alan Gibson
An overall increase in the crime rate has been driven by burglaries. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Alan Gibson

A surge in burglaries has driven up the crime rate - with thousands more people victim to crime compared to a year ago.

Police Minister Judith Collins has promised action, saying from next month police will treat house break-ins as needing greater urgency.

The overall "victimisation rate" increased by 3.1 per cent from 2014/15 to 2015/16, June figures released today by Statistics NZ show.

That amounts to 12,060 more victimisations (a person may be a victim multiple times in a year).

"From this increase, 72 per cent is attributable to burglaries. Police remain committed to improving burglary resolution rates and reducing the number of burglaries," Collins said.

"From next month, police will also raise the priority level of house break-ins, moving it from the 'volume-crime' category to the 'priority offence' category."

Burglary victimisations rose to 6780 in May, up from 5304 in May last year.

A new guide to how police respond to burglaries is also being developed and comes after a Herald series revealed 164 burglaries went unsolved nationwide each day.

The Hitting Home series ran in March and reported that the national average resolution rate for burglaries fell to single figures for 2015, with only 9.3 per cent solved in the year to December 31.

Labour's police spokesman Stuart Nash has said an increased focus on burglaries was hopeless without a rise in resourcing for frontline officers.

That had not been delivered in May's Budget, he said, with most extra money covering pay increases.

Today's release by Statistics NZ came after police changed the way crime statistics were collected in July 2014.

- NZ Herald

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