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Owen Jennings: The new normal

Two young guys, hoodie dressed, walked out of a South Auckland supermarket each pushing a trolley heaped with wine, chips and cake. They didn’t pay. No one stopped them, including the overweight security man who was studiously looking the other way. Apparently, the local cops know them but have “more important matters” to deal with including filling in numerous forms that are supposed to improve policing and safety.

How do I know? A close family member works in that supermarket and witnessed the brazen theft.

Theft in supermarkets is common. It has increased dramatically since someone decided that criminals would not be stopped if they had got passed the checkout and that police would not be notified. Staff are not allowed to interfere at all. Security can only intervene if culprits can be caught prior to checkout. We are not talking about women with large coats nicking a few items in their inside pockets – it is loaded trolleys pushed out the door in full view.

It is one reason for higher grocery prices – we are subsidising petty crooks. Retail theft amounted to $1.2 Billion last year. That’s the recorded stuff only. Double it at least. It's over $800 a household and maybe well over a $1,000 if unrecorded crime is added in.

If you buy weekly, your grocery bill could be $25 to $30 higher just to keep the crooks happy.

Statistics are being manipulated to make it look like crime is down. Listen to the Government and they will pull numbers showing theft crime is down, police numbers are up and there is nothing to worry about. Try telling that to a supermarket owner or the local corner dairy.

Gang numbers increased 50% between October 2017 and June 2021 to well over 8,000. The tough end of gang land operates in hard drugs monopolising the trade and pulling serious profits. The newbies run the car thefts, ram raids, shop thefts and nick stuff from supermarkets.

Police are now caught up in more and more welfare work, dealing with mental health issues, court time and endless paperwork. Labour is quick to point out extra police on the beat but the workload is up over 60% and the numbers barely 10%. More and more of the ‘low level’ crime is simply ignored because of a lack of resource.

Only about one third of recorded crime is solved and with a high level of crime not being recorded, criminals are playing the odds knowing they have a high chance of never facing any consequences. Further should they be in the small group of apprehended they know those consequences will be a minimal disruption and cost. The old adage that crime does not pay is turned on its head.

Figures show that the Auckland area has 1530 crimes per 10,000 people- 667 more than surrounding areas – and it shows a massive increase over previous years.

Australia has three times the coppers on the streets per head of population than Auckland. Maybe that is a factor in the major crime rate being only a third of ours per capita.

Those who say jail is not the answer and that more needs to be done to rehabilitate miscreants are losing both ways. No jail and no rehab. And so are we. The anti-jail lobby is working well with lots of help from the bench. Community service is a very sick joke with limited supervision, no penalties for “no shows” and guys just sleeping it off in the corner. Ankle bracelets and home detention means more porno movies and Maccas delivered by courier.

The answer? Education and heavy intervention taking control through mentoring and tough love. That is another story for another time and, sadly, avoided like a plague.

Owen Jennings is a former ACT MP. This article was originally pubished at Kiwiblog

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130 comentários

It seems to me that the main priority in the justice system/industry has become revenue gathering by collecting money from people who are basically law abiding because they infringed one of tooo many regulations. The people that we pay to "serve and protect" us are more likely to harrass and collect from us. The people from whom this revenue is gathered have usually not done anything that harmed another person or the property of another person. Real criminals who cauuse harm to other people or the property of others people are not such a priority in this "industry" because dealing with them costs money and does not generate revenue. Robberies, assaults and other crimes are ignored unless the consequences are serious enough to attract…

23 de jan. de 2023
Respondendo a

Agree - summed up perfectly.


22 de jan. de 2023

A bit long but some may find this interesting.

Years ago I thumbed through a book which i regret I never bought - the subject being a look at justice in the ancient days. As you might imagine, some of it was a bit rough compared what most countries do now, although there are certainly exceptions.

The article that caught my eye was taken from the memoirs of a Roman Judge, as in Ancient Rome.

Here is a short summary as I recall it:

"Most offenders who appeared in my court were young men.

If the offence was relatively minor, more of a public nuisance, I knew that posting their details on the town news boards for all to see…


Al Bourne
Al Bourne
22 de jan. de 2023

Here’s another thought or two.

A drunk female cop runs over a man and kills him.

I or any of you reading this would probably be charged with Manslaughter.

A man deliberately drives over his wife and kills her, he gets a sentence of two years. That incident reads to me like a murder, so when did a sentence for murder become as low as two years?

In the last ten years close 1000 people served jail time and have since found to be innocent.

The justice system in NZ is pathetic.

What we need is a cop in charge like one of those old hairy arsed Seargent Majors who are as tough as old boots, with a, to he…


A new professional career pathway is being a crook promoted by labour/greens


Let’s face it: crime and punishment has been a conundrum in every society since the beginning of time. May I suggest that we spend a lot more money on truancy officers to ensure that each child can learn to read, write and count sufficiently well to be employable and change the school curriculum to ensure those subjects are taught every day of the week. And that all prisons have libraries and opportunities to learn to read and write. And that the tiny minority of young women who give birth to baby after baby without partner support be encouraged to return to education and training so a life on a benefit is a worse option? Is that an impossible dream? Ha…

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