Monday, 2 October 2006 - 12:39pm |
National News

Waikato solves more crime - despite increase

2 min read

Police in the Waikato have solved 14 per cent more crime than last year, despite a 17.2 per cent increase in offences.

For the year June 2005-June 2006, the district solved 14,995 crimes, compared with 13,156 for the previous 12 months. There were 33,565 crimes recorded by Police as having been committed last year, compared with 28,643 the year before.

The biggest increases in crime were in the areas of car theft (26.6 per cent increase) and burglary (21.9 per cent increase). Thefts from cars rose 19.4 per cent and violence offences rose 19.7 per cent.

There was a noticeable drop in sex offences, with a 9.4 per cent decrease.

Waikato District Commander Superintendent Kelvin Powell said the rise in crime numbers reflected a national trend of an across-the-board increase.

"While we would all like to see a decrease in numbers, the reality is that there is more crime occurring in the community," Mr Powell said.

A new police system of recording offences had also contributed to the increase in crime figures. The LES-NIA migration was the largest system and practice change affecting recorded crime statistics since the introduction of the Wanganui Computer in the late 1970s.

Mr Powell said there had been a decrease in crime over the last 10 years, but figures for 2004-2005 and this year indicated a "bottoming out".

There were several areas of concern for police in the Waikato and specific projects and initiatives had been put in place to address them.

"Burglary has been a major issue for us this year and we have looked very carefully at how we can target burglars. We have increased burglary squads in the district and we have also focussed heavily on bail checking our known burglars. These two initiatives alone have put pressure on the criminal community and we are starting to see some results from this."

An increase in car thefts has seen the introduction of a specialised "car squad" that deals only with car thefts and related car crime. Police have previously linked a surge in car thefts with gang activity and a number of arrests were made earlier this year during Operation Lexus, that targetted Mongrel Mob and Black Power car theft rings.

Mr Powell said the increase in violence was probably due to a combination of increased reporting and an increase in violent offending. There had been a 27.5 per cent increase in the number of serious assaults solved last year.

"There is no doubt we are becoming more and more violent as a society and that is reflected in these figures. There has been a large increase nationally in family violence offences and we have a hugely successful Family Safety Team in this district that focusses solely on domestic violence."

Hamilton City continues to be the main source of violent offending. But Mr Powell said ongoing partnerships with the Hamilton City Council and other agencies were proving effective in keeping a "lid" on street crime.

"We have huge support from our local authorities, which is vitally important if we are to maintain a safe city environment," he said.