Barry Soper: Business as usual for burglars

Figures just out show burglaries have increased by more than 15 percent over the past year. Photo / 123rf
Figures just out show burglaries have increased by more than 15 percent over the past year. Photo / 123rf

You could blame the rising crime rate on many things. The government's opponents blame the growing inequality gap, or too few cops on the beat.

They are factors, no doubt, but pointing the finger is cold comfort to the victims of crime, and there are tens of thousands of them.

Most of us would say we live in the best place on earth, away from all the world's troubles, and that's true.

But almost 10,000 of us currently live in prisons. Corrections is a growth industry with recruitment scouts looking for another 600 wardens over the next year. And if the police could keep up with the rising tide of crime, there'd be even more criminals behind bars, particularly burglars who it would seem are violating our space, knowing their chances of being caught are fairly remote.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that 24 police stations didn't resolve a single burglary last year. Two years ago, it was discovered that police removed a number of burglaries from the statistics by downgrading them to more minor offences, like theft.

A couple of decades ago the police had a policy of turning up to a burglary within ten hours of it being reported; today they try to get there within 24 hours.

Figures just out show burglaries, the most common crime in this country, have increased by more than 15 percent over the past year, to more than 71,000, and each of those break-ins will have a tragic, if not frightening, story.

To have your home violated leaves you feeling vulnerable and in many cases frightened. The safety you once enjoyed will never be quite the same again. Feelings of shock, anger, denial and sadness are the common emotions of burglary victims, but you can't let fear control you. The experts say you should be proactive, talk about how you feel, and get to know your neighbours.

The experts say getting back to a regular routine will help you move beyond what is a horrific event. Arrange a dinner party at your home, go out with friends, and conduct your life as though it's business as usual, and it soon will be.

Unfortunately, it'll also be business as usual for the burglars, but by making yourself safer, like by installing a burglar alarm, it'll make life harder for these predators.

- Newstalk ZB

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