5 Nov 2013

Kaitaia police arrest 20 in crime blitz

6:32 pm on 5 November 2013

Police in Kaitaia have arrested 20 people in a blitz on burglary, theft and drink-driving.

Retailers in the town have complained over the past year about constant break-ins, theft and the inability of police to catch the culprits.

Senior constable Steve Robinson, who led the crack-down, says a small group was causing grief for the community and needed to be stopped.

He says officers have used bail-checks, traffic checkpoints, random vehicle stopping and foot patrols to catch the offenders.

Those arrested range in age from 15 to 33, and their arrests have cleared more than 40 crimes, including four alcohol burglaries at the Kaitaia RSA.

Mr Robinson says police will continue to target the group with bail checks.

Problem ongoing, says retailer

A Kaitaia retailer says the police crackdown although welcome is no solution to the town's crime problem.

Ian Walker who owns stores in Kaitaia, says such blitzes wouldn't be needed if police had a strong presence on the streets - especially at nights.

He says for months there have been repeat burglaries of stores and social clubs and he's just had $2000 worth of damage done to his shop windows by vandals scratching their tags into the glass.

"While the police are aware of the individuals doing it, it seems to take months and months and months for them to actually catch them.

"What is frustrating in our community is we seem to have a part time police force and then when things get quite bad, resources sudden are found to do a kind of a clean up."

Mr Walker says policing in Kaitaia is pretty much a nine-to-five operation these days and the criminals know it.

He says twelve-year-olds are roaming the town all night getting up to no good - while officers are out all day patrolling the roads and issuing speeding tickets.