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Action to combat crime stepped up

John Key

Wellington, August 30, 2016

There’s been a lot of discussion recently around crime and safety in our communities.

Some people in our Indian and other ethnic communities are telling us they’re scared and concerned for their safety.

I would like to reassure you National remains as focused as ever on preventing crime and helping to keep our communities safer.

There’s no doubt there has been a recent upturn in burglaries. I’ve been burgled three or four times over the years before I became Prime Minister and I know what an invasive and disturbing experience this can be.

That’s why I’m pleased to see Police making moves to put more focus on preventing and reducing burglaries and capturing those responsible and holding them to account.

From 1 September, Police will raise the priority level of house burglaries to a priority offence so all break-ins are attended by Police staff within a reasonable time frame.

Perception and reality

I also want to reassure you that despite the perception, and while there has been a recent upturn in burglary, the crime rate is still at near historic lows.

Overall, crime is down by 16% than it was five years ago – that’s more than 53,000 fewer crimes. And violent crime is down 8% and youth crime is down 38%

Police are working hard to address crime in ethnic communities and have special officers who work closely with those communities to discuss any specific concerns.

While the ideal would be that no one in New Zealand is the victim of crime, unfortunately, no country in the world is crime free and New Zealand is no exception.

However, in today’s increasingly uncertain world we are one of the safest countries in the world to live. A recent international survey rated us the world’s fourth safest country out of 162 countries.

Expanding Police Force

We have heard people’s concerns, though. That’s why recently I indicated we are looking at likely increasing Police numbers even further. Since we came into Government, we’ve increased the number of Police on the beat by 600.

We’ve also increased frontline policing by half a million hours a year by investing in new technology – that’s equivalent to around 350 more Police out and about protecting New Zealand’s communities.

This year we also gave a $300 million funding boost to support Police and the good work they do preventing crime in our communities.

We’re also cracking down on the perpetrators of crime. We introduced the three-strikes policy that ensures the worst repeat criminals receive the maximum allowable sentence with no parole and have toughened sentences for a range of other crimes.

People can do a lot to keep themselves and their families from becoming victims of crime. Together, communities can become safer and more resilient by looking out for each other, getting to know each other, and making sure they know where family members are.

I would also urge you to visit your local Police station if you are feeling unsafe or have been the victim of a crime. They are there to help.

National cares a lot about law and order – we’ve investing heavily in that area – and we will continue to focus on it so we can help make our communities safer.

John Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand

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