Tuesday, 27 October 2009

LIBERTARIANZ SUS: Just your regular long weekend of property crimes and un-policing

Enjoy your long weekend?  Susan Ryder did.

susanryder Long weekends are great for those of us who get to enjoy them and I’ve always loved Labour Weekend in particular, especially when I was younger, especially because I have a birthday at this time of year. I still love the holiday; still love the birthday, too; only more the celebration these days than the change of number. Goodness knows who I offended in the interim, though, because the gods seemed determined to upset my applecart this year.

Firstly, circumstances conspired to prevent me from attending my own party some 500km away on Sunday afternoon. Pity, because it was destined to be a cracker with seven birthdays from the 19th to the 30th celebrating a combined 400+ years at a lovely place in the country near the Kapiti Coast. I’m told that a terrific time was had by all, so I’ll have to finagle an invitation for next year. (And if any miserable sod has stopped to do the maths, I must point out that the others were loads older than me!)

But that’s not what I’m writing about. On Saturday morning, my parents awoke to find their front lawn destroyed.

They’ve spent the last few months re-landscaping their whole property. “She’s a pretty big job” as my wee Mitre 10 mate from New Zealand’s greatest ever television commercial would sagely say. On Friday, they spent hours cutting and laying the rolls of new grass. My nephews helped, too, their primary school being closed for the day. So it was a hell of a shock the next morning to pull back the living room drapes to admire their handiwork and see anything but. During the night, vandals had hopped over the low fence and torn everything up, throwing it all over the place and stomping on gardens in the process. I happened to ring shortly after they’d discovered the mess.

“Ring the police!” I said, amid a few choice epithets.

“What for?” said Mum. “They never turn up for things like this anymore!”

“Well, I realise that” I replied. “But it’s to register the damage, otherwise they can’t know. And the bastards may well have damaged other properties along the way. ”

To be fair, my mother was put through to a decent chap. During the conversation she learned that her call to the local police station had been automatically rerouted to Palmerston North, the local station being closed until today. He was courteous and sympathetic, but there was little he could do except to record the complaint and advise her to make a statement at her local station after the long weekend.

It’s pertinent that my parents’ home is on a main road – State Highway 1 in fact – and well lit. Traffic is constant right throughout the night, which is likely why the vandals weren’t heard. Worryingly, this blatant crime also gives credence to the suspicions of many residents in smaller locations that nightly police patrols are virtually non-existent, a sentiment with which my sister has recent experience in the same town.

A couple of weeks ago she and her husband were awoken at 1.30am by a crowd of people making a hell of a noise out on the footpath in front of their home on a quiet residential street. As far as she could ascertain, the crowd was trying to uproot the street sign on the corner – as you do in the early hours of a weekday morning. They didn’t want their young children to wake up frightened, or the crowd to get any ideas of further trespass upon their property or those of their neighbours, so rang the same police station to request an urgent call-out. Unfortunately, the man she spoke with wasn’t quite as concerned as the police officer in Palmerston North.

“How many of them are there?” he enquired.

“Well, I can’t say exactly! But there’s quite a few out there and we want them to go – now!”

“What do they look like? Can you describe them?” he persisted.

“Oh, for God’s sake!” she said, “I’m peering out of my window through the trees into the darkness and I don’t want to draw attention to myself. All I can tell you is that they’re wearing hoods, there are a lot of them, they’re making a racket and it’s really scary.”

I certainly wouldn’t have been so polite. I’d have asked him if he would prefer that I put on my dressing gown and slippers and pop out with the phone and let him have a personal chat to get the bloody details! In spite of this occurring no more than one kilometre from the police station, nobody ever showed up or followed up. Finally frustrated in their efforts to fully upend the street sign, the crowd contented themselves with hauling out some shrubs from a neighbouring property before eventually buggering off.

This sort of nuisance property crime occurs all too often – and is ignored all too often. We can date political unconcern back to the 1980s when former Police Minister Ann Hercus said that she was only worried about violent crime, a point previously noted on this blog. I wonder if she ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point that subsequently proved the wisdom of nipping minor crime in the bud. In spite of all the predictable talk prior to every election, no Police Minister has acted differently since.

So now we have Judith Collins, who recently made headlines with her potential get-tough policy with nuisance motorists. I’d like to draw Ms Collins’s attention to the ongoing neglect of authority toward property crime and policing in general. And I’d like to know what she’s going to do about it.

The elephant in the sitting room is, of course, several decades of excessive state welfare where losers are paid to screw losers with no regard for the consequences including ensuing children. But it’s no use expecting any reform in that department. I say that based on a letter I received from Social Development Minister Paula Bennett last week, an excerpt of which I forwarded to welfare activist Lindsay Mitchell who compared it with comments made by Labour’s Steve Maharey when he held the portfolio, to discover that it was virtually identical in sentiment.

With regard to policing priorities, there’s this little gem to finish with.

Getting out of Wellington is a slow form of torture every Friday afternoon, but holiday weekends are the proverbial nightmare. After contending with the build-up at Paremata, there is the obligatory crawl through Paraparaumu and Waikanae as a result of the Kapiti Coast District Council digging in its dark green heels to prevent construction of the western bypass – (see Opinionated Mummy and Liberty Scott for full and frightful details of that) – before grinding to a halt at the Otaki roundabout.

Levin lies a further 15 minutes north. From that point the worst is usually behind you and it’s a decent run, weather/crashes permitting. Foolishly thinking that they might start to make progress, northbound motorists on SH1 last Friday evening faced a further hold-up at Levin’s southern entrance. Adding insult to injury, four police cars – yes, four of them – were stationed with jovial officers checking for current warrants and registration. They were still happily doing this at 7pm and heaven only knows when they finished. I guess Bill English won’t be grizzling about it, though. I bet he scored a nice little earner out of it. But then he probably wasn’t stuck in that traffic jam, either.

These would be the same cops who don’t seem to patrol the town streets at night anymore and who don’t seem to give a damn about property crime at all, let alone its effect upon victims.

Lord knows I struggle with the concept of tax at the best of times, but surely some decent policing is not too much to expect for what we’re forced to continually hand over. There are countless stories like this one and it’s not bloody good enough. The last government couldn’t have given a continental about property crime (the glaring exception being the attack on Helen Clark’s electoral office), so I’d like to know what John Key’s much vaunted “broad church” is going to do about it.

I’m all ears, Judith Collins.

* * Susan Ryder is Libertarianz Sus, Read her column every Tuesday here at NOT PC * *


  1. I am in Argentina at the moment and yesterday I took a Saturday afteroon stroll through the streets of Corrientes.... it was a lovely quiet day with people ambling up and down the pedestrian precinct and in and out of the main square, sipping mate and chatting away.

    On almost every third street corner there was at least one cop. They all wear guns on their belts (even the lipsticky girly ones!!) and although they are quite friendly (I chatted with one about the relative approaches to law and order in our respective countries) they still watch you as you go past... not aggressively, but interestedly. One gets the feeling that the cops are actually being vigilant and taking their jobs seriously.

    The cops don't just stand there, of course, they patrol. On foot. Looking around. And also there are squad cars noticeable all the time. Does anybody in NZ remember what patrolling is all about? Yep.... thats it... walking around looking and taking notice of stuff. Geez, thats a novel approach isn't it!

    Robberies, property damage, graffiti, muggings, theft and P are not, as far as I can see, a problem in Argentina. I wonder why not? Could there be a connection here?

    Cheers - Dave Mann

  2. I'll add another horror to the pot. This one could have ended in serious injury or worse.

    I was walking home from town a couple of years back, rather inebriated (cue a finger wagging from Lord Sir Fuckface Palmer) and took a shortcut through a fairly insalubrious part of town. It's a 5km walk from town to my home, so shortcuts are welcome, even dodgy ones. Anyway, shouting and screaming eventually assaulted my ears, and I became aware that this was a fairly intense domestic situation between a very angry man and a terrified woman. I identified the house, but in my uncoordinated state I figured it best to call the police rather than attempt to intervene myself. This resolve doubled after hearing the sound of what sounded like furniture being demolished inside and seeing a very large man through the window doing the shouting.

    I phoned our friends in blue. I got through to someone fairly quickly and reported the incident. They asked for the address, and when I provided it, they seemed to lose all interest. "Oh, that part of town, no point bothering" was the implication, if not the direct statement. Instead, the person on the end of the phone asked if I was sure there was a problem (well, erm, yes), and if I knew how long it had been going on for (no, I just got there), and if I'd mind waiting there, since they weren't sure when a car would be able to attend. What the hell was I supposed to do? Anyway, I duly waited, after about ten minutes the sobbing died down inside and lights went out. Who the hell knows what he'd done to her? I felt cowardly for not going in myself, but we have POLICE for this, damnit. I waited another 30 minutes in the cold night air at 2am. Still no sign of the boys in blue. I realised nothing further was likely to happen and left. I phoned back to tell them I was leaving, but got no answer. Not even diverted to another station.

    Meanwhile, there were a bunch of arrests for cannabis possession that weekend, and a fair number of speeding tickets issued. I'm really glad the priorities are right. Nice work!

  3. I’ve always loved Labour Weekend in particular,

    Sorry but that makes you a lefty!! I've always hated it! When is Employer's Day where workers work for free to show their gratitude?

    The real problem is simple lack of police numbers.
    You need about 1 cop per 100 people to police this kind of crime effectively. That would mean 40,000 cops for NZ's population. We have only 20% of that.

    Then, in the 60's it changed from the police Force to the police Service. That's where the rot really set in.

    I struggle with the concept of tax at the best of times, but surely some decent policing is not too much to expect

    Why do you think policing should be any different from health or welfare or ACC or anything else provided by the state monopoly in return for a compulsory tax? There is no reason of course!

    I've a friend in LA, a couple of kids tried something similar to their law - and were shot on sight by the private security armed response. The statistics are clear: a fully private armed response is the only effective measure to reducing property crime. I don't understand why the Libz don't admit to this like everything else.

  4. We intend to implement a local sheriff initiative here in Invercargill - the main purpose of which is to be a patrolling presence with the resources to actually prevent crime - and to deal with it decisively.

    The towns luminaries (excluding the Mayor) seem to insist we continue our decay into anarchy and 'ever increasing police powers and resources'.

  5. Sounds interesting, Shane. Will you be outlining progress and/or planned methods & strategies on your blog?

  6. Well, that all makes for attractive reading.

    Sometimes there's just no point, is there.

  7. Well, that all makes for attractive reading.

    Sometimes there's just no point, is there.

    Just goes to show that socialist / Labour Party police can't solve every crime or social problem. But I'm sure I can arrange a private moderation service - and an armed response if necessary - to keep your blog just how you like it.

  8. Redbaiter,

    I've been very supportive of you in the past against LGM & Elijah, but now I think that you're really an arsehole and a troll.

    Why don't you just leave PC's blog and don't spoil the online dialog amongst commentators here, with your frequent intrusion. If you keep doing this, then I think PC will start moderating the blog 24hrs/7days, which is not fun for regular readers/posters like myself.

    Can you leave us alone please? Otherwise, establish your own blog, which is free to set up. Why can't you do that?

  9. Elijah Lineberry27 Oct 2009, 15:48:00

    Kurt, please do not drag me into this...

  10. Sus, yes, will keep you informed of progress should you wish.

    Perhaps our 'troll' should rename himself
    "Goldbaiter", as he seems to directed energy towards us?

  11. when you make the call tell the police that you saw a gun...

  12. "when you make the call tell the police that you saw a gun..."

    I said "knife" before. Just don't say "bomb"...


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.