Burglary problems

This week the Herald has focused on major burglary problems, and have summarised in today’s editorial.

Priorities askew on burglaries

The Herald‘s startling burglary series this week has revealed that nearly every homeowner has a story about the crime. If they haven’t been burgled themselves, it is more than likely that they know someone who has, and often more than once.

The Prime Minister, responding to the revelation that burglars got away on average with a staggering 164 crimes a day, had several episodes to recount. Mr Key even once confronted an intruder in his own home. And while police turned up swiftly after that disturbing experience, the prowler was not caught.

Many people who responded to our reports complained that the criminals who entered their homes, smashed their way into their cars or forced open doors of their workplaces never seemed to be apprehended.

If burglars aren’t apprehended then they are likely to keep repeating their crimes.

This raises a challenge for the police, who maintain that resolving burglaries is a priority. This is not the impression held by a significant number of the burglary victims who reported their experiences and who questioned whether police were devoting sufficient resources to catching the criminals.

Police made the point that the definition of burglary had altered so that many minor offences – the example of a basketball going missing from a lawn was offered – now were included in burglary statistics.

That may be so but the insistent message from burglary victims reacting to our coverage and the impact of offending makes it clear that families whose homes have been burgled often are left feeling helpless, violated and fearful.

Burglary can be a major violation and there are risks of associated violence.

It may be a common crime for the police but to victims it is a major problem.

Burglaries make up about 15 per cent of reported crime. The last Treasury estimate, in 2005, of the annual cost to the state of burglaries was $626 million.

The Minister of Police believes individuals have to play their part by securing their property. Many do of course, but still get burgled. Resisting the temptation to buy goods at “hot” prices would also be a deterrent because burglars do not steal appliances and other goods to keep.

There is another measure which many want to see. In the published 38-page briefing police gave their minister after the last election, the word “burglary” does not appear, though the police declared in the document that victims were “at the centre of our response”.

The findings of our series – that nearly 60,000 burglaries went unsolved in New Zealand last year and that in 24 police districts not a single incident was resolved – suggests it is high time the police revised their priorities.

If it is easy to get away with burglary then the problem will remain a major problem.

It can obviously be difficult finding criminals when often their crimes are discovered after they have long gone, but if police put more of a priority on solving and deterring property thefts it would reduce the number of victims.

 

 

 

 

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37 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  11th March 2016

    The lack of resources to devote any to solving burglaries has been so chronic for so long this massive hole in policing doesn’t even feature as a blip on the Police hierarchy radar any more. Good on the Herald for bringing the issue to attention.

    Reply
    • Along with re-allocation of police resources, some of which might be achieved by cannabis law reform, maybe it’s time for a thorough examination of the issue of burglary?

      From prosecutions and other information, what can be found out about who all these burglars are? To what extent is parental and family ‘failure’, lack of education, social problems and policy, poverty, alcohol, drugs, hopelessness et al contributing factors?

      What ‘fence at the top’ policies and actions can be taken in addition to ‘police car at the bottom’?

      Seems to me there’s also a ‘ledge’ half-way down the cliff of personal property and burglary too, namely insurance? I’m only thinking this as I write, but if our house insurance helps pay for the Fire Service, maybe our contents insurance could help pay for the Police? [Or moreso if it already does] Or help pay for whatever additional ‘fence’ provisions might be instigated? I’ll use an unpopular example; more Social Workers? More Probation Officers? More reintegration services for people coming out of prison?

      I guess you’d have to weigh this against whatever extra personal home security measures you could purchase with the additional insurance money? Seems a shame to me just to add more locks, alarms and camera systems, but that’s the tendency at present …

      Continual ‘Drone’ monitoring of neighbourhoods perhaps?

      Or make neighbourhoods friendly and safe again somehow?

      Reply
      • Klik Bate

         /  11th March 2016

        And lets not overlook legalizing ‘concealed-carry’, but obviously only for those citizens that qualify,.after passing the stringent requirements laid down under the law.

        Reply
        • I’d be very happy indeed to overlook ‘concealed carry’ Klik Bate. What stringent requirements? Being in the PM’s personal protection squad?

          Reply
          • Klik Bate

             /  11th March 2016

            This extract from a report published by ‘The Library of Congress, 112th Congress, House Report 112-277 (2012)’

            EFFECTS OF CONCEALED CARRY ON PUBLIC SAFETY
            Statistics show a connection between concealed carry, based on data from the FBI’s Annual Uniform Crime Report, that ‘right-to-carry States, have 22 percent lower total violent crime rates, 30 percent lower murder rates and 46 percent lower robbery rates, as compared to the rest of the country’

            Fairly compelling argument I would have thought?

            Reply
            • Sounds good at first glance Klik Bate. However, even a cursory search reveals the US stats emanate from an entirely different milleu. It’s like comparing nice clean water with toxic waste …

              Even the easily accessible “firearm related death rate” per capita per nation shows America’s rate per 100,000 people is 10.64 (2013) compared to New Zealand’s 1.07. Ten times higher. I can’t find injury stats, I suspect the rate will be even higher.

              One must wonder to what extent this much higher rate, up there with South Africa (13.61) and Uruguay (11.52), is the result of access to firearms and the freedom to carry them, as opposed to criminal use of firearms?

              So no, I don’t find the FBI argument compelling at all. The compelling argument I see is : Why make it toxic slurry if it’s presently reasonably clean water?

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

  2. Brown

     /  11th March 2016

    ”’…It can obviously be difficult finding criminals …”

    I gave them photo ID of the mongrel that pinched my stuff and even that wasn’t enough to get them off their doughnut filled arses. They do not take burglary seriously – signs saying ”Lock it or lose it” are not a serious response to a problem. Burglars need to go inside for their first offence and the names and addresses of youth offenders who do not get prosecuted (like my offender) need to be relayed to victims.

    My sister in law works for the police and says the millstone is domestic violence which is very time consuming. I think if that improved they’d just target traffic more because that’s where the money is.

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear about your experiences Brown. Very interesting about the domestic violence millstone. Sure to be the case, given NZ’s record. DV is part of a whole interrelated raft of issues of course, connecting with alcohol and drugs, education and economics and, no doubt, with burglary itself?

      I probably feel the opposite to you. More diversion and other measures – support and rehabilitation – rather than more prisons. Restitution too, if possible, and apology to victims. I think one (maybe significant) element of the problem is ‘anonymity’, a lack of personal connection between people within ‘communities’. Like, “we just don’t do that kind of thing to our neighbours and friends”?

      I know you didn’t suggest this, but I’m very wary about public shaming type activities because the objective is surely reintegration or ‘inclusion’ in society rather than isolation and ‘exclusion’?

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  11th March 2016

      Unless the photo matches another one of a known criminal, all that can be done is to keep it until it does. A photo in isolation isn’t much help, alas. How are they supposed to know who the person is if they’ve never seen them before ?

      The old targeting traffic offences because that’s where the money is comes up again and again. Where do people think that the money goes ? It goes into the government’s general funds, and the police don’t get any of it except that they’re funded from government funds, of course. As someone who was seriously injured by a possibly drunk, certainly speeding driver who crashed into my motorbike and sailed on, leaving me unconscious and badly injured on the roadside, I have no sympathy for people who are caught speeding and drunk driving. I cost the taxpayer something like $100,000-why shouldn’t bad drivers contribute towards the mayhem caused by bad and drunk drivers ? User pays.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  12th March 2016

        I’ve no problem with penalising people driving dangerously. I have a big problem with fining people driving perfectly safely. The big increase in road deaths last year contemporaneously with reduced speed tolerances by the police just shows brainless rigid enforcement has no impact on road safety but a massive increase in revenue generated.

        It is irrelevant that the fines don’t go to the police. The police are obliged to fill the quotas that the politicians impose on them. That’s how they earn their budget. If they fail to meet them they will get a reduced budget and a smaller empire.

        Reply
  3. Oliver

     /  11th March 2016

    Now they need to do a week reporting on white collar criminals who steal from all NZ.

    Reply
  4. Why would the police bother? They’re never punished remotely enough to act as a deterrent. Prime example in today’s paper…you can beat up a burglary victim in her bed and walk.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11603888

    Reply
    • Klik Bate

       /  11th March 2016

      If the householder had easy access to a firearm and fatally shot the intruder in self-defense, the details of this case would certainly fall under the category of ‘Justifiable Homicide’. Even if the police, (in their wisdom), decided to bring charges, what jury in the land could find otherwise?

      http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nzlc/pp/PP41/PP41-3_.html

      And reading the ‘rap sheet’ of this scumbag Robert James Boyer, (28), there can be no doubt the world would be a better place had this feral retard now been 6 feet under*.

      * Up- tick if you agree, OR, Down-tick if you would like to have him living next to you

      Reply
      • This is very Oliverian of you Klik Bate, your very own informal YourNZ survey! :-/ Why don’t you ask PG to conduct a proper survey on here? I imagine he can do it fairly easily? πŸ˜‰

        Reply
        • Klik Bate

           /  11th March 2016

          Although I would certainly reserve the right to challenge the ‘jury’ selection

          Just imagine if the likes of ‘kitcat’ and ‘oliver’ made it into the final 12 πŸ˜€

          Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  11th March 2016

      That burglar was given ‘HD’, community work and fined.He wasn’t let off as you would have us believe, and he went and handed himself in. I would think that HD could be almost worse than prison for some people-it would be better for someone like me with all my books, but for someone without such resources, the boredom would be awful. Not that I have much sympathy for them. I once went past the local courtroom and heard a young man say, laughing, that he’d been given 9 months HD. I bet they were a long 9 months-serve him right.

      An American acquaintance says that many shootings in people’s homes are a family member who’s come in late and been mistaken for a burglar-I forget how many she said that this happened to, but it was a lot.

      Reply
      • Klik Bate

         /  11th March 2016

        here we go kitcat ……. LoL!!

        Reply
        • That’s a popular reference source of yours, isn’t it Klik, “This video does not exist”?

          Quite what information one can glean from a snowy black screen I am at a loss to understand? 😦

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  11th March 2016

            Damn! I bin watchin it fer 20 minutes wonderin wen summin gon hapn 😎

            Reply
          • Klik Bate

             /  11th March 2016

            Maybe you guys have got old software?

            Anyway, it’s nothing more than a 20 sec clip of an Ostrich, head down asre up in the dessert – for some reason I keep seeing kitty πŸ˜€

            Reply
  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  11th March 2016

    If burglars leave no trace, it’s hard to see what the police can do about it except advise people to up their security and stop it happening. They can’t take fingerprints if there aren’t any. People are told to report crimes, so they report any small theft, but the police can’t drop everything to look for a stolen letterbox.We reported this when someone took three-ours and the neigbours, but I didn’t expect to have police cars with flashing lights screeching to a stop outside the house, The police seem to be in a no win-I have heard people complaining about being advised to have better security, but I can’t see what better advice could be given.

    It’s not surprising that people know someone it’s happened to-we all know a lot of people. I was really pleased with myself when a friend who’d had two break-ins, probably the same toerags, was having no-speak phone calls, which he naturally found unnerving under the circumstances. I was in his bedroom admiring a patchwork quilt that I’d made for him., when one of these calls came. An inspiration made me pick up the extension and say’ This is Telecom, do you want us to trace this call ?” The phone was slammed down at the other end, and I hope that the person had a good sweat, whether it was the thief or some fool with nothing better to do-I suspect the former.

    I have had no-speak calls myself and found that mentioning Telecom and call tracing is an excellent way to stop them.

    Reply
    • Miss Kitty – A good move, “This is telecom …” I wonder if it has any effect on telemarketers? But well done you! πŸ™‚

      I am beginning to think a Security Drone hovering above every single house with multiple cameras and a direct line to Police &/or Private Security Co. is not only a great idea but an excellent entreprenuerial business venture? [c. copyright 2016, TM, Patent Pending]

      The inevitable next stage in the endless escalation of crime and security.
      What do we need ‘neighbourhoods’ for, or Neighbourhood Watch for that matter?

      Instead, The Drone Shield? What do you reckon Ben? :-/

      There might be equity issues? This might leave the poor unprotected in some neighbourhoods lacking Drone Shields? There may have to be publicly subsidized Drone Shields? Linked to Freeview maybe …? πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  6. Hollyfield

     /  11th March 2016

    To my mind, the bigger problem is the weak sentences the judges hand down.
    My car was stolen (not exactly a burglary, I know, but similar) from my work carpark. Car was found, repaired, returned to me and then stolen again 10 days later. Car again found, repaired and returned to me. The police knew from fingerprints and dna who the offender was, and that it was the same person both times. The police kept me fully informed regularly, even phoning on one occasion to update me that they’d been unable to find the offender, despite having been to his house several times, his friends’ houses, and getting other addresses from his parole officer. He had over 100 outstanding charges. Lots of car thefts, driving off from a petrol station without paying (including in my car). The police did eventually catch up with him. The judge gave him “6 months supervision” and gave me no reparation. Realistically I knew I wouldn’t receive any money (two lots of insurance excess plus a few cheap items I keep in the car that all add up eg $20 sunglasses ). I feel it was a waste of police time even bothering, when the judge thought an appropriate sentence was 6 months supervision for a serial offender with presumably previous convictions since there was a parole officer involved. No deterrent at all.

    Reply
    • Klik Bate

       /  11th March 2016

      There you go then Hollyfield, one between the eyes – problem solved πŸ™‚

      Then we all get back to living our normal lives……

      Reply
  7. RonJeremy

     /  11th March 2016

    Heck klik bate, death penalty for less than probably a $1k cost to the victim ( and not downplaying that at all Hollyfield, theives are scum) as long as your consistent though eh? Can only imagine the penalty you’d be all for for the likes of Hotchin, Doug Graham et al and those other white collar scumbags who actually destroyed thousands of folks lives completely taking complete life savings and lifelong homes from under them. Actually the more I think about it the more I like your thinking. Long as we’re consistent though. Eh.

    Reply
    • Hollyfield

       /  11th March 2016

      Except it wasn’t less than $1000 – there was probably over $10,000 that my insurance company had paid out. Plus there were over 100 outstanding charges – how many people times $10,000 had he cost?
      (I’m not advocating the death penalty)
      And what does “6 months supervision” mean? Reporting to his parole officer once a week? That leaves him with an awful lot of time to be patrolling carparks.

      Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  11th March 2016

      My mum in-law follows this blog religiously, and loves reading everything I write πŸ˜€

      She just phoned all excited to see if had seen a comment on here by someone called ‘Ron Jeremy’

      Gladys asked if I could find out whether it was the same ‘Ron’ that used to say, “I’ve got 12 inches, but don’t use it as a rule” ?

      Reply
  8. John Schmidt

     /  11th March 2016

    Never ever been burgled. Really dissapointed being the odd person out. Often have left my front door unlocked overnight or during the day when out, nothing. Have left garage door open all weekend by accident still nothing. Not sure to be happy or sad that thieves have no interest in my stuff.

    Reply
  9. Brown

     /  12th March 2016

    We can waffle on about punishment but my view is that you make the life of crime (which is different to petty infringements of rules) very painful / unpleasant indeed. Being frightened of painful consequences will stop petty criminal offending. I think Singapore has it about right with their “darn good thrashing” approach. I still think its partly a welfare problem, useless people having useless kids.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  12th March 2016

      That’s a big part, Brown. The Herald points out the role of parents teaching their kids theft is normal and necessary.

      Reply
  10. Klik Bate

     /  13th March 2016

    Judge offers 38-times convicted burglar ‘a carrot’, but warns that next time, ‘the stick will come out’.

    Who appoints these imbeciles to the Bench?

    And people wonder why the Police can’t be arsed attending burglaries!!

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/hitting-home-burglaries-in-nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503997&objectid=11603568

    Reply

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