Crime in Wairarapa
There has been a lot of media attention recently when it comes to crime in Wairarapa. Particular focus has been on a string of robberies in local stores. Although this crime is well publicised, offending rates are actually on the decrease throughout the Wairarapa region. This will come as a relief to locals who have expressed concerned about the perceived lack of safety in the community.
The total number of offences committed in the Wairarapa region has decreased from 1737 in 2014/15 down to 1617 in 2015/16. That is a decrease of 6.9 per cent over just one year, which is an excellent result. The police do a great job of keeping our streets safe and the Government’s crime prevention initiatives are paying off.
In Wairarapa, restorative justice programmes that are operating have helped further reduce rates of offending. This is important, particularly for youth offenders, as early detection of offending and correction of behaviour will lead away from a life of crime. The process is relatively new, it involves the offender facing up to the harm they have caused their victim and the wider community. This gives victims a stronger voice in the process and offenders get an opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Budget 2016 included a $16.2 million boost to such initiatives and the result will mean less crime in our communities. Youth offending has improved this more holistic approach to justice, with the total number of offences committed by under 19-year-olds decreasing from 558 in 2014/15 to 420 in 2015/16 in the Wairarapa.
National put an extra 600 frontline police on the streets around New Zealand, and police also have better technology and resources now to do their job. Police in town now have smartphones and tablets on the job. Having proper support is essential in our towns as we don’t have all the benefits of a big city police force. We are pretty luck though to have close knit towns where most people know their local police officers. There is a personal touch with the community.
Overall, Wairarapa is a pretty safe place to live. Although it is almost impossible to be totally crime-free and one assault is one too many, thanks to the hard work of our local police and justice initiatives, we are making great strides towards continuing to reduce offending and reoffending in the Wairarapa. Although crime may always feature prominently in the media, it is not always reflective of the reality in the community.