Drug offences up, but that’s OK
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