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Reported burglaries and crashes set to reach pre Covid numbers

Tuesday 11 October 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Crime, National

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Reported burglaries and crashes set to reach pre Covid numbers
Cook Islands police. Photo: FACEBOOK

Burglaries and crashes have been labelled as areas of major concern on Rarotonga as law enforcement continues to battle climbing crime rates.

On Monday police again raised concerns after it was revealed late last week that increasing cases of crashes, domestic violence, theft and burglary are adding pressure to frontline police officers who are already anticipating a busy end of year season ahead.     

Latest figures show police have already attended to more than 150 motor vehicle crashes in 2022 – equal to the annual totals for 2020 and 2021 – both years recording 150 crashes.

The total number of crashes reported to Police in 2019 was 235 – more than 15 per cent lower than 2018, and 7 per cent lower than 2017.

The two years of Covid-19 brought this annual total down to just over 150.

“For 2022, Police have already attended to this number, with another three months to go,” police spokesman Trevor Pitt said.

“Two areas of unlawful activity within the Rarotonga crime environment, burglaries and motor vehicle crashes, are trending back toward pre-Covid levels although these patterns won’t be conclusive until at least a full year of ‘normalcy’ is completed,” Pitt said.

“The number of reported burglaries and motor vehicle crashes were both coming down in 2019, well before the pandemic struck; therefore, despite the present trends, Police data around these areas of concern may continue to reflect comparatively low numbers of incidents.”

In 2019, the annual total of burglaries was 108 – a drop of more than 30 per cent compared to 2018, and more than 10 per cent lower than 2017.

The pandemic years reflected further drops by up to 36 per cent in 2021, Pitt said.

“However, this year looks like equalling the number of incidents reported last year thanks to a broadening of the scope of targets for criminal behaviour.”  

Reported burglaries totalled 69 in 2021.

“We’re not quite there yet in 2022,” Pitt said.

“There are broader targets now as a result of tourism rebuilding. 

“Visitors are again falling victim to break-ins and theft.”

Last month there were 234 reported incidents compared to 170 in August and 153 in July.

The main concerns last month were crashes, over 30 per cent of the incidents, domestic violence, nearly 10 per cent, and theft 8 per cent, and burglary 8 per cent.

In September, the traffic team was responsible for issuing more than 75 per cent of the total number of minor offence notices. 

The majority of those fines were for non-compliant vehicles and various defects.