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Crime in Thames

Police regard burglary stats. as a barometer of crime generally, and the local commander appeared at Council yesterday for the normal periodic courtesy reporting session. He denied claims of Police indifference made at a recent public meeting called to discuss increases in all forms of crime in the town.

I am not going to say much on this issue other than that his credibility can be called into question on two scores. Firstly, police representatives were reported to have claimed at that meeting that there had been no significant increase.  To the contrary, facts revealed at Council yesterday were that burglaries in Thames have increased over the last year from a seven year average of 12, to 22.5 burglaries per month. 

This is more than just significant, and the discrepancy with the information apparently provided at the public meeting was not explained. What he did say was that even one accomplished offender can add substantially to the stats. between parole and jail time. This is apparently happening right now. Happy days! He explained that Whitianga and other areas were showing equivalent increases.

The other claim which I found surprising was that the increases were in part due to the failure of the public to report suspicious characters in their neighbourhood, or to ring 111 when incidents occur. It seems to me that more such calls would only make the stats. look worse inasmuch as the 'clean-up' rate remains abysmal at 16%. The commander further claimed that "the crime prevention message was just not getting through".

Staffing levels are becoming more and more problematic, and festivals on the Peninsula were proving a real headache in regard to the policing demands made in that regard. (See today's HH for the story on the inability of Police HQ to convince Govt. of the need for charging for services provided at festivals and other gatherings - particularly significant on the Peninsula)

I don't see any easy way out - the Police can only do what they can do, but it does not help to fudge the statistics, or to divert the blame back to the public. Police HQ needs to know if the level of incidents and response times in this town are unacceptable, and staffing levels may need reviewing if the current eight are inadequate to perform the task. 




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