3 strikes, 3 years for burglary?

Burglaries are a growing concern. yesterday Duncan Garner tweeted:

Clarification; on Saturday in I said burglaries were up almost 12% in one year. I was wrong. Stats NZ just told me it was 14%

Yesterday the Dominion Post editorial: No easy answer for burglaries

The police brass estimates that they currently get an officer to 70 per cent of burglaries. Unfortunately, they solve many fewer than that – about 9 per cent of those recorded.

On the face of it, a guarantee of attendance by the police seems an obvious response. Yet criminologists and those who represent police officers agree that simply attending burglaries does not offer a sure bet of improvement.

There are no witnesses to most burglaries, so catching the offenders is difficult. A low resolution rate is not unique to this moment, nor to New Zealand; it is, to some extent, just the nature of burglaries.

On the other hand, as criminologist Greg Newbold points out, sending officers to follow up on what most people regard as an invasive crime can be reassuring to victims. Failing to send them, meanwhile, can breed cynicism – among those affected, their neighbours, and perhaps even those committing the crimes.

It may not be as bad as it sounds.

Still, as Collins was at pains to point out a couple of days after her announcement, burglary numbers over the past year have defied the trend and leapt upwards – by about 12 per cent nationally.

Some of this increase appears to be down to a methodological change in how burglaries are counted. Some may be due to more scrupulous counting by the police in the wake of the scandal over doctored burglary counts in Counties-Manukau in 2014. Certainly other police statistics suggest that recent burglary numbers remain far lower than they were in the mid-1990s, despite a much larger population.

But we still have a significant problem.

The Police Association says it reflects deeper currents of drug and gang crime. Whatever the cause, and however hard the solutions, burglary is certainly a crime that causes public anxiety – and thus political peril. Collins’ populist intervention – and her decision to draw attention to a rising category of crime happening on her watch –  is a clear signal she is aware of that.

Collins should also be aware of a proposal from ACT’s David Seymour – 3 strikes for burglary. This is outlined in the latest ACT Free Press.

Burglary Up
Burglary is up and even National MPs’ electorate offices are now being burgled. The police minister says that the police will now attend every burglary, but what will that mean?  Police generally know what is happening on their patch and prioritise accordingly.  We doubt that attending every burglary will increase the resolution rate because most burglaries are carried out by professionals too smart to leave traces.  We wonder what other crimes police will now not attend to.

Unless the number of front line police officers is increased more time spent on burglaries will mean less time spent on other crime.

Three Strikes for Burglary
Earlier in the year ACT tabled its Three Strikes for Burglary bill, but other MPs objected to it being debated.  The policy is very simple: with resolution rates as low as they are, you have to commit a lot of burglaries to be convicted three times, so you should be sentenced to three years.  ACT’s Three Strikes for violent and sexual offences has been a success at reducing reoffending for those crimes.  ACT will continue campaigning for a Three Strikes rule for burglary.

Is 3 strikes, 3 years for burglary worth considering? Should we keep recidivist burglars off the street and out of our homes for longer?

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11 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  6th September 2016

    Will recidivist reactionary responses solve or significantly diminish the core problems?

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  6th September 2016

      It might be worth a try.

      The real problem is that burglars know about fingerprints and take care not to leave them. I have heard of some geniuses who wear latex gloves to avoid this-and then strip them off and leave them for the boys in blue to find, not realising that they have now left a nice set of prints. But, of course, fingerprints are useless unless there are existing prints (and the name of owner thereof ) with which the new ones can be identified.

      Reply
  2. Pickled Possum

     /  6th September 2016

    “Certainly other police statistics suggest that recent burglary numbers remain far lower than they were in the mid-1990s, despite a much larger population.”

    I would hazard a guess and say not many if any report their ‘little uninsured’ burglaries any more; as the police don’t come to take finger prints that day and sometimes never come.

    My friend is still waiting for a visit after 2 months of phones calls and visits to the police station where she is told … “Sorry we are very busy at the moment, are you insured?”
    What has that got to do with it I wonder?. Do you have to have a police report for all insurance purposes?
    Am I cynical enough to believe they only do insurance claim burglaries, because that way it fits with the mantra we have heard for a few years now .. ‘Crime is down’ … see look at the stats or am I just a skeptic.
    I would make a call on burglars doing the 3 in a row then your out, butt there would have to be discretion for young people I think. Because some young people are intimidated and maybe forced by the ‘glory’ a piece of rag on their back, in some gangs you must not come from a loving and functional family life to be accepted into the gang.
    Most prospects are members of a dysfunctional family life or have none so being patched up with a ‘major’ gang can certainly give them relevance and a feeling of belonging that satisfies their needs. Belonging is an important part of the gang culture.

    Disclaimer … I am not a gang lady nor do have near family in a gang I do not wish to speak on behalf of gangs so don’t fire questions at me re gang life.
    I have housed woman and children from gang life in crisis situations. thank you

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  6th September 2016

      i think that one does have to inform the police for insurance-otherwise anyone could ring the insuranceco and say that they have been burgled and lost $20,000 worth. $20,000 for $250 excess is a very nice return.

      We didn’t bother to ring the police when all the solar lights were stolen. The thought that someone had crept around doing this was very nasty and was a horrible feeling, although the value of the stolen items was so low. The night before, I had been admiring them when we came home-they did look attractive. They weren’t replaced as we didn’t want to make the thief a present of another lot.

      Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  6th September 2016

    I still remember the police officers’ comments/actions, when a house i used to live in, got robbed.. tick the boxes on the form & on to the next case. I asked if they were going to fingerprint the window, that was forced open (with a dirty hand print on) he just said “its too smudged & will likely not be worth the effort” (paraphrase), as if he was just not even concerned or thinking it could possibly be solved.

    ‘Luckily’ they only pinched a pile of about 30 fairly new CDs & turned over the drawers (probably looking for money or other ‘valuables’ that were easy to sell). The cop even said ‘its only a few CDs’ BUT it cost over $300 to replace them, I did not have ‘contents insurance’

    BUT I still believe that the police see the ‘war on weed’ as a bigger PRIORITY, than house burglary ! 😦

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  6th September 2016

      btw; I now write my name inside CD cases.. to show who OWNS them !

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  6th September 2016

        I’ve never had anything nicked that has “Stolen from Alan Wilkinson” and my phone number carved into it with a soldering iron. Actually, apart from a Mark II Cortina that was stolen four times I can’t think of anything I’ve had stolen at all. I’m far more likely to lose something myself.

        Reply
        • Zedd

           /  6th September 2016

          hopefully we ‘live & learn’ from these experiences ?

          BUT i doesn’t make it ‘all OK’ 😦

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  6th September 2016

            A local schoolmaster made a point of writing ‘______________ College’ in large letters on things like televisions and video players at the school, reasoning that ‘defacing’ them in this way would make them not worth stealing.

            Someone I know had a break-in, and the large Alsatian who was at home at the time took such a fancy to the burglar that he followed him around the house-or should that be showed him around the house ?-and seemed sorry to see him go.The burglar was caught and told the police about this friendly dog, thinking it to be very funny.

            Contents insurance is essential for renters. If the house is damaged in a fire or something like that, the owner’s insurance company claims the money back from the renter’s insurance. If the renter hasn’t any, they have to pay the money themselves.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  6th September 2016

              I saw this on Fair Go when a girl accidentally started a fire which did a lot of damage; I had no idea before that, and didn’t have it when I was flatting, reasoning that I had nothing much of value.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  6th September 2016

        Zedd, wouldn’t it be better to write outside the CD cases ?

        Reply

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