Assaults at twice the state average

ASSAULTS, thefts from homes and drug crimes have increased dramatically in the Wellington Police Service Area according to police statistics.

Released last Thursday the statistics show crimes against the person increased by 31 per cent to 767, up from 584 in 2011, with assault increasing by 43 per cent to 671, up from 470 in 201.

Assaults, excluding family violence, increased to 418, up from 307 in 2011, twice the state average.

Wellington Police Service Area Inspector Mick McGinn said police were particularly concerned by the rise in assaults.

“This causes a lot of concern, particularly because of the terrible consequences the violence can cause,” he said.

“We have begun to have problems around a couple of licensed venues, and the immediate vicinity in the south end of Sale, and also a number of neighbourhood disputes, which are also alcohol fuelled.

“We will be renewing concentrated policing of licensed venues and their immediate vicinities as we have a problem with a number of young people with too much grog in them,” he said.

While total reported crimes increased by 28 per cent to 3709, up from 2894 in 2011, Inspector McGinn stressed much of the crime could be averted if people took a number of simple precautions, such as locking their vehicles and homes.

“We know we have a drug problem in the area, however people leave themselves vulnerable to opportunistic crimes by not locking their cars and homes,” he said.

“It is presenting an easy fix for these people, if a car is unlocked.”

Inspector McGinn called on the community to assist police by reporting any suspicious behaviour as swiftly as possible.

“It is positive to note that a number of arrests have been made but there remains some work for us all to do to reduce these offences.”

Inspector McGinn pointed out the increase in drug crime statistics was the result of a renewed focus on those trafficking and manufacturing illegal drugs.

“We have increased the number of search warrants executed for drugs, which has resulted in the recovery of a considerable amount of stolen property and items gained by illegal means. The increase in drug offences reflects our commitment to reducing drug harm.”

“It is positive to note that a number of arrests have been made but there remains some work for us all to do to reduce these offences.”

A positive statistic was the significant reduction in the road toll in the Wellington PSA.

“Our resources have been directed towards achieving positive outcomes, removing alcohol and drug impaired drivers from roads and targeting speed and fatigue,” Inspector McGinn said.

“The results that we are achieving are positive and offer some indication that we have the balance right.

“A number of dangerous drivers and their vehicles were removed from the roads along with a number of arrests and vehicle impoundments.

“Speed, alcohol and inattention while driving have fatal consequences. Police will continue to target these offences with new traffic operations to be run over the Easter holiday period,” Inspector McGinn said.