Burglars getting away with it, figures show

Burglars getting away with it, figures show

The Prime Minister says he can sympathise with those who have their houses burgled, having been a victim of it multiple times.

Despite police claims that catching them is a priority, newly released figures show burglars have a less than one-in-10 chance of being caught for any particular crime.

In 2015 only 9.3 percent of burglaries were solved, reports the New Zealand Herald. In total there were 59,845 unsolved burglaries, 164 a day on average.

The total number of burglaries has jumped to 178 a day, well above 2014's average of 106. After several years of decline, the number jumped after police changed how they categorised a range of other, sometimes relatively minor, crimes.

"Police continue to work hard to prevent, respond, investigate and resolve burglaries," Acting Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers told the Herald.

"Police have had a particular focus on preventing crime, and as an organisation we are proud that the number of burglary victims have reduced over the last five years."

Mr Chambers says some burglaries take time to solve, and expects 2015's resolution rate to improve to 12 percent.

"Sometimes when we execute search warrants and we find an Aladdin's cave of property we can match back to burglaries and some of those would have happened a long time ago."

At his post-Cabinet news conference this afternoon, John Key recounted the "three or four" times he'd been burgled at separate homes while he was leader of the Opposition and also as a private citizen.

"The most recent one was when I was leader of the Opposition and the person, or a couple of them, got sent to prison. They had a P habit they were trying to support and they burgled our place on St Stephens Ave."

Their home in Johnsonville in Wellington had also been burgled, as well as another house.

"They stole Bronagh's birthday present at the time which was a pink Honda city and that was of some amusement to the cops at the time that I'd be stupid enough to buy a pink Honda city."

Mr Key says he was home at the time of the burglary at the St Stephens Ave home, which turned out to be part of a spree of crimes in the area.

"One of the other times was when I was there, I went downstairs and there was a burglar there.

"The wife sent me down to sort it out. We thought the alarm was going off because the weather was so bad, as it turned out there was someone downstairs at which point I started screaming and next thing you know the cops turned up.

"He ran. It was about 3am and it was a terribly wet night. I've got a great respect for the police because they turned up with an Alsatian in about 60 seconds."

Not all of the burglaries he'd experienced were solved, and he says while many of the items stolen don't have high monetary value they do have a lot of sentimental value.

"I can absolutely understand the frustration of people when they are burgled.

"People feel as though, and I think rightfully so, that it's an invasion of their privacy; they feel violated by that often."

He believes police genuinely try to solve burglaries, but often have very few leads to follow.

Labour MP Phil Goff, a member of Parliament's Law and Order Committee, says burglaries aren't a priority for police.

"For the last six or seven years the police budget has been at best frozen and sometimes diminished in real terms, so the police are looking at other things they say are greater priorities," he told Newstalk ZB this morning.

The police say they're focusing on preventative measures, which Mr Goff believes aren't working.

"These burglars aren't usually kids down the road that are just hungry and breaking in for a feed, these are professional criminals that work with a chain to make sure they can dispose of the goods.

"You nail one criminal that is a professional criminal and you stop thousands of crimes."

Police say the number of burglary cases involving break-ins are continuing to decline.

In a statement, they said the time taken to attend a crime scene is influenced by "geography, remoteness, distance of the nearest first responder unit to the scene, environmental factors and traffic congestion".

"Burglary is a complex issue driven by many factors, and it's not just police that are responsible for addressing this problem. Many agencies are dealing with the underlying social issues surrounding this and police continue to work with many government and non-government agencies to address challenges."

Burglary hotspots in 2015 include Auckland suburbs Takanini, Mangere, Flat Bush and Manukau.