May 2019 in Te Hiku saw a sharp increase in reported crime, especially around burglary and car conversion. I believe that this can be directly linked back to the demand for methamphetamine. It's no secret that methamphetamine use is causing social harm right across the country, and here in Te Hiku we are not immune.
When I joined the NZ Police in 1999 'meth' was new to the scene, and I recall the talk around the stations by the more experienced cops about how this drug was different due to the effects it had on people and their behaviour.
I remember shaking jars of liquid, wondering what they were, only to find out later from a scientist that it was a highly volatile methamphetamine solution.
Twenty years on we can see the harm methamphetamine is causing, the crime and victims that are created by users' actions and a generation of children who have been directly affected by it. What I have really noticed is the increase in grandparents having to step in and take care of their grandchildren because the parents are not capable or not in a physical/mental state to do so.
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May 2019 in Te Hiku saw a sharp increase in reported crime, especially around burglary and car conversion. I believe that this can be directly linked back to the demand for methamphetamine. Those who can't afford to support their habit turn to crime to pay the gangs and drug dealers for their fix. Last month a group of youths who we know are using methamphetamine went on a crime spree on the Karikari Peninsula and Awanui area.
Young people being used and abused, self-harming and families in crisis are by-products of any drug use.
So what's being done? I know that a large amount of money and effort by government and non-government agencies/services, community and iwi is being spent. That said, it is my view that unless these individual drug users want to change it can be like hitting your head against a brick wall for whānau and friends.
Police have been working on changing their approach to drug enforcement, and are working with health services to encourage users to get help, but it's not an easy fix for the whānau.
Meanwhile police in Kaitaia have recovered a number of stolen vehicles and items recently, and attended crime scenes. Our Scene of Crime Officer, Constable Steve Daykin, often finds when he gets to these scenes or places to carry out a forensic examination the victims or their friends have handled the item or area of interest, thereby reducing our ability to identify who has committed the crime. Constable Daykin says: "Members of the public or the victims of crime should continue with their lives as much as possible, but if it is not necessary to touch a scene of crime then just leave it alone. If items have to be touched or tidied up, handle them as little as possible, remember where you touched them, and move them to a safe, dry place so they can be examined. Police would like the best possible chance to identify a suspect."
Lastly, once again I ask that if you need the police or see suspicious activity call 111 so we can have a better chance of preventing a crime and and the creation of a victim.