Stuff reports:

Minister John Key says he has been burgled three or four times in his life, including once when he “screamed” after confronting an intruder. 

Perhaps the most embarrassing was when his wife Bronagh’s birthday present – a pink Honda City – was stolen when they lived in Wellington. 

His comments came as Police have defended their efforts to solve burglaries, despite the percentage of overall crimes solved dropping below 10 per cent in some parts the country.

On the burglary resolution rate, it is worth noting that there is a difference between the resolution rate for individual burglaries, and the arrest rate for burglars.

Sadly, unless a burglar is stupid or unlucky, it is hard to prove who burgled a house. The nature of burglary is there are generally no witnesses, so it is not like many other crimes. Unless they get caught at the time, captured on camera unmasked, leave DNA/fingerprints or get found with your property, it is hard to prove they did a burglary.

However while a burglar may not get prosecuted for a specific burglary, most burglars do get caught eventually. They may have done 50 burglaries before being caught. There will be enough evidence to prove he or she did say five of them (the Police will have a fair idea they did the others in the area) so officially only five out of 50 burglaries are resolved, but the burglar has still been caught and punished.

Now ideally every burglary will get resolved. It brings peace of mind to know the actual burglar who robbed your place has been found and convicted – for your burglary. But the nature of burglary is that the resolution rate will never be particularly high. The more important indicator is the actual incidence rate.

He had been burgled three or four times, including most recently at his St Stephens Ave house in Parnell, when he was Leader of the Opposition. Those involved were caught. 

Earlier he and wife Bronagh were burgled when they lived in Johnsonville, Wellington, before he entered politics. 

“They stole Bronagh’s birthday present at the time, which was a pink Honda city. Which was of some amusement to the cops at the time – that I’d be stupid enough to buy her one.”

When he lived in Auckland’s Burwood Crescent burglars had “cleaned out” the house.

On one occasion at the Key’s Parnell house he had gone down stairs at 3am – clothed – to see what was happening when the alarm went off.

They had thought it was set off by bad weather.

“The wife sent me down to sort it out … as it turned out it was someone downstairs. I started screaming and the next thing you know the cops turned up.”

Heh, most PMs wouldn’t admit to screaming at a burglar – or buying a pink Honda City 🙂

Just taken a look at the crime stats. This is the rate of burglaries per 10,000 population from 2004 to 2014:


There was a very good decline from 2009 to 2014. The rate has been static since then. would be good to have it decline further.

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