29 Jul 2016

Police to prioritise burglaries as crime victim numbers climb

3:25 pm on 29 July 2016

The number of crime victims has risen by just over 3 percent in a year, mainly because of burglaries.

Generic police, finger prints image

A police officer carries equipment to take fingerprints (file) Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Police Minister Judith Collins said that, from next month, the police would raise the priority level of house break-ins.

Newly released figures showed 12,060 more victims of crime in the 2015/16 year compared to the year before, a rise of 3.1 percent.

About 72 percent of the increase was due to burglaries.

"Police remain committed to improving burglary resolution rates and reducing the number of burglaries," Ms Collins said.

From next month, house break-ins would move from the "volume-crime" category to the "priority offence" category, she said.

The figures were released by Statistics New Zealand, completing the first two years' of comparable data under the new method of reporting crime statistics.

Ms Collins said the new method, which focussed on victims, provided more open and transparent information and brought New Zealand's data into line with other countries.

Labour police spokesperson Stuart Nash said the latest figures also showed there were 3000 more assaults.

"All this shows that Judith Collins is utterly wrong when she claims crime is falling. These big hikes in violent crime are putting a huge stress on a police force who have been told there will be no staffing increases until 2020," he said.

"It's time the minister stood up for our hard-working police officers. There must be enough police officers to keep our communities safe."