Drug of­fences up, but that’s OK

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

The num­ber of il­licit drug of­fences in the Kapi­tiMana Po­lice dis­trict rose 234 per cent in 2014 – but sur­pris­ingly that’s a good thing.

The re­cently re­leased 2014 crime statis­tics of­fer a com­pre­hen­sive look at what oc­curred in the last cal­en­dar year.

Po­lice can trum­pet the drop in as­saults and public or­der of­fences as ex­am­ples of their good work in your neigh­bour­hood and city cen­tre.

How­ever, as is of­ten the case, the jour­nal­ist- po­lice con­ver­sa­tion over why a cer­tain crime trend is ris­ing goes like this:

Re­porter: ‘‘So theft and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is up. Should peo­ple be wor­ried?’’

Po­lice com­man­der: ‘‘ No, it means peo­ple are hav­ing the guts to re­port crime and they are show­ing faith in po­lice to re­solve it. We need peo­ple to re­port and if that blows our num­bers out, so be it.’’

Re­porter: ‘‘ Are you happy with those num­bers?’’

Po­lice com­man­der: ‘‘ We’re never happy, and there are things we can be do­ing bet­ter, but we feel we’re do­ing a good job mak­ing this com­mu­nity safe for law-abid­ing cit­i­zens.’’

As with ev­ery­thing, it de­pends on your point of view – you can guar­an­tee the chicken views a ba­con and eggs break­fast a lot more cheer­ily than the pig.

Suc­ces­sive Kapiti- Mana Po­lice com­man­ders have al­ways been up­front about what’s go­ing well and what’s not.

Youth crime, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and traf­fic ac­ci­dents are the big is­sues in this dis­trict and gen­er­ally po­lice are on top of each.

They are given cer­tain re­sources and, usu­ally, a na­tional strat­egy to im­ple­ment, and sent on their way. There will al­ways be spikes, how­ever.

In the past 12 months, the big talk­ing point has been drug of­fences. There were 300 recorded drug crimes in Kapi­tiMana in 2013 and that jumped to 1002 in 2014.

The Kapiti-Mana po­lice com­man­der, In­spec­tor Paul Basham, said his staff had been wag­ing war on drugs of late.

When they smash in the door of a tin­nie house or bust a metham­phetamine op­er­a­tion, the sub­se­quent court ap­pear­ances of a sin­gle in­di­vid­ual could lead to sev­eral charges, push­ing the ‘‘of­fences’’ num­bers up.

Though many peo­ple will be alarmed at the rise and will ask about the pro­lif­er­a­tion of drugs in so­ci­ety, we say well done to the po­lice for hit­ting the drugs man­u­fac­tur­ers, sup­pli­ers and users hard.

Drugs and al­co­hol have been the scourge of the Porirua com­mu­nity – they leave peo­ple pen­ni­less, split fam­i­lies and have law-abid­ing folk living in fear.

The other points of note in the 2014 crime stats in­clude Kapiti-Mana be­ing the only one of the four Welling­ton dis­tricts where fraud and de­cep­tion dropped, a slight rise in sex­ual as­sault, public or­der of­fences trend­ing down and the con­tin­u­ing ter­ri­ble res­o­lu­tion rates for bur­glary and break-ins.

The re­gional to­tal for the lat­ter is 12.4 per cent – Kapi­tiMana ac­tu­ally had the high­est per­cent­age solved in 2014, 13.8 per cent.

Such to­tals have po­lice winc­ing.

Bur­glary is the most dif­fi­cult crime to solve, and ranks lower on the se­ri­ous­ness scale than as­saults and drug of­fences, but the ef­fect break-ins have on peo­ple – caus­ing them to fear living in their own home – can­not be over­looked.

It is one area Basham said needed im­prov­ing and we hope po­lice can have some suc­cess in that re­gard in 2015

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