The Wellington Police crackdown on burglars by dedicated squads is having huge success with 65 arrests in the past 12 weeks.
A focused team approach that sees the Tactical Intelligence Group working alongside the Burglary Attendance Team, Scene of Crime Officers, Crime Control Unit and the Target Squad has netted burglars throughout Wellington City.
Inspector Marty Grenfell, Wellington City Area Controller, says the burglary teams are having a big impact on criminals. "Those who continue to offend can expect more of the same," he says.
Since 1 March when the teams were established, Wellington Police have arrested 65 people for burglary and laid more than 150 burglary charges.
"We believe these offenders are responsible for more than 500 burglaries throughout the city in the past six months," Mr Grenfell says.
Those arrested range from first time offenders to lifetime career criminals. A majority of offenders tended to be in the older age bracket of between 31 and 50 years.
For the first time in five years local burglary numbers had started to rise. The use of dedicated teams and increased pressure on burglars was in direct response to this increase.
"If the number of arrests is any indication we would now expect to see burglary reports start to fall," he says.
Mr Grenfell says the crackdown has also enabled police to get a snapshot of current criminal trends and offender profiles. "This will help us become more efficient in anticipating crime, reducing offending and catching more offenders."
An in-depth analysis is yet to be completed but an interesting picture is starting to emerge. It includes the prevalent use and addiction to Methamphetamine or "P" by offenders.
"This is something that has become obvious to frontline staff who are daily dealing with these people," Mr Grenfell says. "Many of these offenders are committing burglaries or breaking into cars to feed their habit or pay back debt to dealers.
"The exact extent to which this is a contributing factor will always be questionable however the picture emerging locally is that there is a clear link between addiction to Meth and property offending."
Mr Grenfell says it appears use of meth is having a wider impact on criminal offending and not simply confined to serious violent, irrational or desperate behaviour as previously thought.
"Those who are dealing in meth, especially P, are on notice. They can expect a similar level of attention from us to which we have been giving burglars."