27 Feb 2020

Arrests in Miramar, Seatoun should quell rising burglaries - Police

2:23 pm on 27 February 2020

Police have confirmed there has been a jump in burglary numbers in Wellington's eastern suburbs this year but says they have made arrests and that should level out.

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(file photo) Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

About 50 people turned out to a community meeting with police in Miramar last night complaining of a spate of recent burglaries and robberies.

Many wanted answers from police about the extent of the problem, and why police were not more visible and active.

A sergeant at the meeting had said he was not sure of the crime figures, and spoke of safety measures like securing properties, which was met by anger and frustration by the residents.

Today, Inspector Wade Jennings confirmed dairies and cafes were targeted in recent months.

"So the instances really occurred between January, February. There was quite a spike around the cafes, particularly in that entire eastern suburbs, so probably Miramar and Seatoun.

"It probably took us a couple of weeks to identify the offenders and then they were held accountable and they're before the courts now."

Jennings said while there had also been a slight increase in thefts in the eastern suburbs, the number of assaults there stayed level. Overall the amount of crime there was not out of the the ordinary for a city suburb.

Wellington was a big city and sometimes spikes like this could happen, he said, and there had in fact been a huge drop in car thefts across the city in the past six months after extra efforts from police.

He said the assault on a man who was found badly injured on Park Road yesterday morning was an isolated incident and the public did not need to be worried about it.

Rongotai MP Paul Eagle said he wanted police on the beat in the area.

He said he was meeting with Wellington police area commander tomorrow and would ask for more police visibility in the area - particularly around schools.

"When people see police officers in the blue uniform walking around our communities it does make people feel a whole lot safer.

"So the message I'll be saying to the police is 'get some increased presence [in the suburb].'

Jennings said police were deployed throughout the city as needed.

"Members of the public, their expectation is they're used to seeing police in a marked car, in a uniform ... there's so many other tactics we use and they might not be as visible to the public.

"Just because they don't see us ... doesn't mean we're not in their community."

Residents at the meeting last night expressed frustration with police about a lack of communication and Jennings said that was something they were reflecting on.

He reminded residents to lock their doors and windows, not leave valuables in their cars, and to call police if they saw anything suspicious.

Residents at the meeting last night also called for stronger lighting in the area, saying the new environmentally friendly LED lighting installed in the area was too dark.