16 Jun 2021

Downward trend in burglaries 'accelerated' since Covid-19 lockdown

6:15 am on 16 June 2021

Burglary numbers are trending down across the country, according to figures from the latest Crime and Victims Survey.

Police generic

The Ministry of Justice plans to work to address the way disabled people are being targeted as victims of crime (File image). Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

But the numbers also show people with a disability are significantly more likely to be victims of crime than able bodied people of the same age.

The Ministry of Justice plans to use the survey to help shape its thinking on future programmes, and will work to address the way disabled people are being targeted as victims of crime.

Ministry of Justice deputy secretary Tim Hampton said burglary numbers had been trending down for the past three years.

"There was already a downward trend in burglaries before the Covid-19 lockdown, and this trend appears to have to accelerated since then," he said.

"It is particularly encouraging to see that some of the biggest declines in burglaries has been for those that have historically been the most likely to be burgled, such as Māori and low-income households."

Hampton said the data on disabled people was concerning, and needed more investigation.

"What the survey shows is that people with a disability are much more likely to be a victim of crime than somebody without a disability of the same age," he said.

"Once you adjust for someone's age, a person with a disability [has] a 40 percent chance of being a victim of crime, and that compares to a 30 percent [chance] for the New Zealand average.

"We find that applies to a range of offences, personal offences and even burglary, which again, it seems strange why disabled people should be more susceptible to a burglary.

"What it highlights is that it's an area that we need to work carefully with and in more detail."

The survey has run since 2018, and has drawn on about 23,500 interviews with randomly selected people.

Hampton said three quarters of crime was not reported to police, so the data gave a good understanding on the true impact of crime on New Zealanders.

"It shows changes in victimisation and can indicate the effectiveness of government policies on crime - this is the key to what New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey offers and will continue to grow in importance over time."

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