Police focus on young offenders

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Young people involved in burglary are the focus of a nationwide New Zealand Police operation announced today.

Operation Focus is a month-long effort aimed at reducing the number of dwelling burglaries which have been steadily increasing over the past 10 months.

Acting Deputy Commissioner, National Operations, Andy Coster said the increase was of concern to the public and to police.

"We know most burglary is committed by young people, 60 per cent of them under 24 years and 20 per cent of them under 16.

"Some of these young people start committing theft and burglary as young as 8-years-old.

"Young people also commit the majority of vehicle crime which is a precursor to committing future more serious offending.

"Through Operation Focus all districts will prioritise addressing young people's offending.

This will include enforcement and prevention activity.

"Police have a number of ongoing prevention programmes to address youth offending and we will be looking around the country to see which of these is the most effective and where else we can implement them," Mr Coster said.

Operation Focus is just one of a number of tactics being undertaken as part of an increased focus on burglary.

For the year to April 2016 burglary accounted for 26 per cent of all victimisations.

"We are determined to better address this crime," Mr Coster said.

There are also steps the community can take to lessen their exposure to both burglary and to vehicle theft.

Burglaries predominantly occur in central city locations and in the suburbs adjacent to them.

Large car parking areas such as in shopping complexes see a high rate of unlawful taking offences.

"Often these are opportunistic crimes in places where young people are looking for and find easy targets.

"People need to be aware of what they leave in their cars, ensure that their homes are secure and report suspicious activity to police as soon as possible."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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