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Goff Launches Scheme To Make Homes Safer

Justice Minister Phil Goff launched a scheme today to make people's homes safer against burglars.

The Target Hardening initiative will provide people on low incomes who have been repeat victims of burglaries with security information and security equipment such as locks and alarms.

The programme is run by the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups and funded through Vote Justice.

"Burglary is one of the most common crimes in New Zealand and two thirds of all burglaries last year were of people's homes.

"The police have made good progress in combating the problem with the number of burglaries last year the lowest since 1982 while household burglaries dropped 14 percent between 1999 and 2000.

"This scheme is aimed at further reducing the number of burglaries and targets a group of New Zealanders such as students and beneficiaries who statistically are more likely to have their homes burgled and be repeat victims of burglary.

"Those who qualify will have locks installed on windows and doors and will be provided with advice on other measures which can make their homes safer.

"The programme will operate across Auckland initially and Victim Support intends to expand it nation-wide by the end of the year. An evaluation process of the scheme will be completed by the end of 2002.

"The scheme is part of this government's overall commitment to providing better support to victims of crime. $1.3 million has been provided over four years for the Target Hardening programme.

"This follows on from the Victims' Rights Bill which will strengthen the rights of victims of crime. Legislation to extend DNA testing to burglary suspects to be introduced this year will also aid the battle against burglars.

"Police measures are one part of the solution but this scheme is also important in helping those low income people who are repeat victims of burglary," Mr Goff said.

Ends

Target Hardening Backgrounder (details embargoed until 1pm 8 June 2001)

*The scheme is operating on trial in the Auckland region. It has been in operation since April 1 with 24 households benefiting from it so far. Victim Support says the programme will be expanded nation-wide by the end of the year.

*A person qualifies for the scheme if their home has been burgled twice at their current address over the past 12 months and they are in a low-income household.

*If a person qualifies a security assessor will visit their home and check what is needed to make the home more secure. Locks will be installed. Chubb New Zealand Limited has the contract for this work having gained the contract following a formal national tendering process.

*A victim of more than two burglaries may be eligible to have an alarm provided.

*The scheme is administered by the New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups and is funded through Vote Justice. It has been developed by the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups, and the Police.

*Victim Support says based on the cases in Auckland so far, the average value of security installed has been around $300-$400.

ENDS


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