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11 November 2022

Police see positive start to year with reduced crime

Saturday 9 March 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Crime, National

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Cook Island Police reported lower burglary and stolen bike rates in early 2024 compared to 2023, but warn of potential increase in traffic accidents due to poor driving habits.

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt says that burglaries are off to a lower start this year with nine cases reported compared to 17 in 2023.

Pitt said seven cases were reported in January with only two last month. In 2023, five cases were reported in January with 12 in February.

For stolen bikes, nine cases have been reported with three in January and six last month. In 2023, six were reported in January and seven in February—totalling 13 cases.

Pitt says Rarotonga also recorded its lowest monthly figure for motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) in two years.

However, he says that despite this, Police expect driver behaviour and road incidents will continue to worsen as the year progresses.

Police data showed that 11 crashes were reported last month. The previous record low of 10 was in January 2022.

Nearly all the road incidents last month were caused by careless or reckless behaviour and nine of these crashes involved injuries, including a serious case.

Pitt said that Rarotonga’s poor driving culture is reflected in the High Court where 20 cases involving driving were heard, last month.

Of these, 11 people were disqualified from driving for one year, thanks to drunk driving convictions.

He added that an increase in traffic volumes in the coming months, due to rising visitor numbers, will elevate the risk level on the road, particularly in the town area and points on the coast susceptible to congestion.

Ongoing investigations

Pitt said investigations continue on the cases regarding the break-in at the Goldmine Jewellery Store and the suspected heroin package found at Prime Foods warehouse.

The Goldmine Store break-in, where amber jewellery, gold chains, and bracelets were stolen, occurred in the early hours of the New Year’s.

The alleged heroin matter was reported to police by Prime Foods workers who were unloading a container on the morning of January 11, 2024. Prime Foods managing director Daniel Forsyth earlier clarified that the packages, initially believed to be narcotics found in a shipping container linked to his business, were actually discovered by an employee within the Prime Foods warehouse.

The packages were hidden inside a wooden pallet.