Stephanie is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Rotorua crime on the rise (+video)

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New Statistics New Zealand figures show of the six offence categories listed by its victimisation rate, four increased in Rotorua in the 12 months to July 2016.

They were assault, robbery and extortion, burglary and theft.

The number of victims of sexual assault decreased 12.5 per cent and there was a 33.3 per cent decrease in abduction and kidnapping victims.

Rotorua police area prevention manager Inspector Stu Nightingale said he had noticed a climb in dishonesty offending in the past 12 months.

"We are seeing more opportunist offending so we then have to ask ourselves what are the drivers for people committing these crimes?

"The common theme we are seeing is people obtaining items to sell quickly for cash that they then use to satisfy a drug addiction. It is then our job to try help get that monkey off their back and encourage them to make the first step. The biggest crime prevention is breaking the circuit."

Mr Nightingale said offending experienced peaks and troughs and police were constantly trying different tactics to prevent crime.

Read more:
Robbery victim: My perception of safety has changed

"Knowing police are around is a good deterrent. The victims are at the heart of everything we do and we absolutely want people to not just feel safe but be safe."

Sensible Sentencing Trust Rotorua spokesman Peter Bentley said the figures did not surprise him at all, stating Rotorua's repeat offenders were "out of control".

"They get away with so much so often that they don't consider what they are doing as a crime. They see the likelihood of them being caught as limited so it's worth the risk.

Waiariki Women's Refuge chairwoman Rangianiwaniwa Pehikino said the refuge had had a steady workload with an increase in Community and Family Violence Integrated Response Services.

"While we have not been so busy recently in our residential area, we have had busy periods where our safe house has been overflowing and we've had to seek further support from our sister refuges.

"More now than ever is an opportunity to work collaboratively together as a community to eliminate violence of all kinds."

In a written statement to the Rotorua Daily Post Police Minister Judith Collins said she acknowledged there had been an increase in the victimisation rate across New Zealand.

"Police are committed to reducing crime and victimisation, and ensuring that New Zealanders are safe, and feel safe in their communities. Individual police districts assess the needs of their communities, which will include utilising these statistics, and will take the appropriate steps to address these needs."

She also acknowledged burglary was one of the main contributors to the increase.

"Police recognise the invasive, personal nature of burglary for its victims, and I share their concerns around the increase in the burglary rate."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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