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2007 Waikato Crime Stats

2007 Waikato Crime Stats

New Zealand Police Waikato News Release 1 April 2008

01 April 2008

Reported crime in the Waikato dropped over the past calendar year with significant reductions in motor vehicle crime and liquor ban breaches, though alcohol still remains a major contributor to violent crime.

Crime in the region dropped 3.3 per cent last year (2007), with 33,290 offences recorded compared to 34,415 the year before equating to a reduction of 4.3 per cent per 10,000 people.

Resolution rates remained relatively steady with the Waikato recording a small improvement in 2007.

Waikato Police District Commander Superintendent Allan Boreham said a 3.3 per cent decrease in total recorded crime was pleasing considering it came on the back of a 9.5 per cent increase in 2006.

"This shows a commendable effort by Waikato Police staff to reverse the increase but there is still work to do to get back to earlier levels and we'll be looking at additional ways to reduce crime and improve resolution figures."

In line with a national trend violent offending increased in the Waikato with 561 more offences, an increase of 16.2 per cent.

"Males assaulting females continue to comprise nearly half of all serious assaults justifying a continued focus on family violence, as well as policing public disorder with a greater Police presence at peak times such as Friday and Saturday nights."

Police recognise alcohol as a key driver of crime in the Waikato, implicating it in 50-70 per cent of offending.

To address this problem Waikato Police have increased their profile in urban areas during peak periods, especially in Hamilton's CBD. Police are also increasing their activity and capability around liquor licensing and maintaining a zero tolerance approach towards the region's liquor bans.

"Research shows us the profile of our most common violent offender in the Waikato is a young alcohol fuelled male offending within Hamilton's CBD."

"To address this we're working alongside the Kirikiriroa Maori Wardens as part of the Community Safety Project and have close partnerships with other agencies such as the Hamilton City Council, ACC, CYFS and the Waikato District Health Board."

The Hamilton Area Alcohol Action Plan was implemented in 2006 and has coincided with a 22 per cent reduction in sale of liquor offending. It is hoped a planned CBD Alcohol Accord will further address inner city violence and work to ensure Hamilton is seen as a safe place to visit.

"This close co-operation with other agencies is not isolated to Hamilton, the Western and Eastern Waikato Areas also maintain close links with councils and other agencies to address licensing issues, liquor bans and multi-agency approaches to family violence."

Family violence accounts for 41 per cent of violent offending and the increasing level of reporting is viewed by Waikato Police as demonstrating increased trust and confidence of, and access to, Police.

"Family violence is traditionally accepted as an under reported area of crime and we believe the increase in reporting is more a response to improved Police training, awareness and investigative capabilities in this field than a correlation to a total increase in the number of family violence incidents," said Mr Boreham.

"It was particularly satisfying to note there were no domestic-based homicides in the Waikato in 2007."

Knowing what tactics and operations have worked will help Police in further reducing the number of recorded offences in the region.

"The reductions are good but reducing the incidents of violence, residential burglaries and the impact of alcohol will all be major targets for this year," said Mr Boreham.

There were 81 more burglaries in the Waikato in 2007 an increase of 1.3 per cent. This compares to a 24.6 per cent increase the year before.

"While unhappy with any increase it does show strategies put in place to address residential burglaries may have capped the rise and the main objective now will be to reverse this trend altogether."

To fast track burglary complaints in Hamilton a new service desk was implemented in March to streamline notifications to investigation staff.

"It's currently in the testing phase but once fully on line we will see more accurate, streamlined recording of burglaries and the building of a 'real time' intelligence picture, enhancing the Police's response to victims and offenders," said Mr Boreham.

"This is complemented by the addition of a neighbourhood support system and extra community police working closely with the City Council, other key agencies and the community."

Despite the increase in residential burglaries dishonesty offences overall dropped by 8.7 per cent.

The district recorded a 22.3 per cent reduction in car conversion, 27.8 per cent less miscellaneous dishonesty offences, 9.1 per cent less theft and 29.8 less fraud.

In terms of property offending the public has sent a clear message regarding their intolerance of tagging and vandalism and Waikato Police are working in partnership to address this.

"The new community Police have made significant inroads in regards to stemming the tide of tagging with some major success in Melville and Enderley," said Mr Boreham.

"This was made readily apparent with the highly successful Tag Out Day on 8 March where 500 volunteers joined Police and council staff to paint out graffiti in Hamilton suburbs and schools."

With the number of community constables doubled in Hamilton and increased across the district Police envisage being able to deal more closely with signal crime in communities most at risk.

"Our officers are working in partnership with the community alongside other agencies in community-provided facilities to address the needs of the people living in those areas and resolve issues identified by them as priorities.

"These include issues around truancy, problem families, tagging and youth crime. With these issues the intent is less in the reported crimes statistics but more how supported our communities feel and that they have the confidence they can be safe as they go about their lawful business."

ENDS

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