I am hearing stories from across the Ōhāriu electorate with concerns over increases in property crime which is leaving people feeling less safe. Police data shows theft, burglary and related victimisations rose nationally by over 13,000 in the year to November 2019. Reports on community noticeboards and to my office indicate that our share of those is increasing.
We have seen a spate of car thefts around Newlands and Churton Park, and a marked increase in burglaries, and attempted burglaries, from Tawa through to Khandallah. A number of these burglaries appear to be the work of well organised groups, with not only trades vehicles being broken into, but also an entire container-load of builders’ equipment being stolen and an attempted break-in to a building supplies business in broad daylight.
Even more worrying are recent reports of attempted burglaries while people have been in their homes. Such crimes are traumatising for those who experience them and they make us all feel that bit less safe in our homes. Drug use is acknowledged by Police to be a big driver behind property crime, which is why National’s committed to cracking down on criminal gang activity and the misery they peddle.
One thing we’re considering is a specialised unit modelled on the successful Strike Force Raptor team in New South Wales, focused on supressing criminal gang behaviour. Locally, I’m meeting with the Police Wellington Area Commander to discuss this growing problem, the trends Police are seeing and how they are responding to it and to public concern for their safety.
In the meantime, if you, or someone you know has experienced crime, please get in touch and I will see what we can do to help.