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Cops warn of increasing crime levels

Thursday 13 January 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Crime, National

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Cops warn of increasing  crime levels

Rarotonga’s social behaviour in the coming months will likely reflect increased crime levels say Cook Islands police.

Those are the words of police who have reported the pressure is now on for the public to adjust to preventative Covid-19 measures.

Police spokesman Trevor Pitt said police expect added pressure on resources in terms of virus risks, as well as the demands of traffic enforcement and supervision of the risks associated with higher travel mobility, including burglaries, violence, crashes, and drug and alcohol abuse.   

The warnings come after police reported a drop in crime in 2021.

Pitt said motor vehicle crashes and burglaries ended the year on record lows, but the reduced levels of unlawful activities in 2021 were spoiled by bumps in reported thefts and domestic violence during December. 

“Last month’s mixed bag of reported incidents is now leading to further unpredictability as the border opens to tourists, this week.” 

The 2021 total of reported road crashes was 151, just beating the all-time low of 153 in 2020. 

Burglaries ended the year at 69, well below the previous record of 90 reported in 2020. 

Stolen motorbikes were also well down in 2021 – a reported 49 reflecting a decline over the years since 112 reported stolen in 2018.

The annual number of thefts did not break the record set in 2020, which was 126. 

However, the reported 134 last year continued to demonstrate a lowered trend overall, since at least 2010 when 356 thefts were reported.

Pitt said incidents of domestic violence remain fairly constant at levels, which reflect ongoing relationship issues with alcohol, finance, and property.

“Domestic violence figures are not reflecting any trend, the issue is multifaceted and complex,” he said.   

There was a reported increase in domestic violence in 2021 compared to the previous two years, 2020 and 2019.

“Sometimes it’s an isolated incident, many times it’s repeat offending.

“The category of reported incidents is broadly encompassing. Police do note the more violent physical cases. 

“Reporting is inconsistent and hard to pin down as to trends, many cases are withdrawn even when pursued by police through to the court. 

“Police don’t drop cases, victims drop cases,” Pitt said.    

Throughout last year, the decline in crimes and road incidents was largely attributed to tightened monitoring around known offenders, lessened vulnerability and narrowed opportunities for break-ins, and a much lower volume of traffic. 

Pitt said the main contributing factor was “the crackdown on known offenders”. 

The annual number of thefts did not break the record set in 2020, which was 126. 

However, the reported 134 last year continued to demonstrate a lowered trend overall, since at least 2010 when 356 thefts were reported.

Pitt said incidents of domestic violence remain fairly constant at levels, which reflect ongoing relationship issues with alcohol, finance, and property.

“Domestic violence figures are not reflecting any trend, the issue is multifaceted and complex,” he said.   

There was a reported increase in domestic violence in 2021 compared to the previous two years, 2020 and 2019.

“Sometimes it’s an isolated incident, many times it’s repeat offending.

“The category of reported incidents is broadly encompassing. Police do note the more violent physical cases. 

“Reporting is inconsistent and hard to pin down as to trends, many cases are withdrawn even when pursued by police through to the court. 

“Police don’t drop cases, victims drop cases,” Pitt said.    

Throughout last year, the decline in crimes and road incidents was largely attributed to tightened monitoring around known offenders, lessened vulnerability and narrowed opportunities for break-ins, and a much lower volume of traffic. 

Pitt said the main contributing factor was “the crackdown on known offenders”.