A 9 per cent increase in crime in the Western Bay of Plenty is in large part due to the methamphetamine epidemic sweeping the region, politicians say.

The latest police statistics show in the 2015/2016 financial year, crime increased 9 per cent on the previous year in the Western Bay of Plenty policing district.

Burglaries were up 43 per cent, while thefts and robberies remained static.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said increases in crime were partially due to the increasing use of methamphetamine and its users' need for cash.


"Last week I visited a police station with Police Minister Collins, we were hearing from a number of people that meth is now more easily available in the Bay of Plenty than it has been.

It really is a P epidemic and it's changing the nature of crime.


"It's getting a group of people from across the spectrum - not just gang members, but professionals and business people. I think there's a real myth in the community that it's manageable and can be used in a manageable way.

"It can't. It's a pernicious drug that gets its hooks into people and requires a lot of cash to foot the bill. It's becoming trendy in some circles - that's idiotic."

Mr Bridges said some of the increase was no doubt due to increased reporting, but it was also necessary to attack meth "for the evil thing it is".

Labour police spokesman Stuart Nash said the increases were due to two things - the P epidemic and falling police numbers.

"It really is a P epidemic and it's changing the nature of crime."

Mr Nash said police used to be able to predict an offender's response when they knocked on a door, but P had completely changed that.

He also said police numbers were not keeping up with population growth. He wanted to encourage people to report all crimes, no matter how minor, so police could be better resourced.

In response to questions from the Bay of Plenty Times, the police media team said the long term crime trend had been tracking down, however the upward trend in the past year was of concern to police and Western Bay of Plenty police remained committed to ensuring its community was safe.

"The increase in victimisations is mostly attributable to an increase in burglary both nationally and in Western Bay of Plenty. Police remain committed to improving burglary resolution rates and reducing the number of burglaries.

"Police are focused on reducing the incidence of burglary and are making a number of changes to provide a greater emphasis on both attending and resolving burglary."

Theft was the largest offence category and the police media team said police worked hard in this area as it often related to business.

"Our staff regularly provide crime prevention advice, both in person and through electronic resources, to help business prevent this type of offence.

"Theft ex car is counted in this category and we also provide preventative advice to members of the public in relation to the security of their cars. Simple actions such as removing valuables, locking cars, and parking them in high frequented and well lit areas can deter offenders."