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Crime Trends Down

17 July 2002

Crime Trends Down

Police figures show crime has fallen overall in New Zealand for the ten months to 30 April this year, Police Minister George Hawkins and Justice Minister Phil Goff said today.

Mr Hawkins said provisional police figures show crime has fallen 2.4 percent overall nationwide compared to the same 10 months the previous period.

“Crime has fallen in the categories of violence (-1.7 percent), sexual offences (-10.8 percent), drugs and anti-social crimes (-5.6 percent), dishonesty - which includes burglary (-2.5 percent), property damage (-1.1 percent) and administrative crimes (-0.5 percent). The only rise was in property abuses (+3.5 percent)

“Worst violent crimes are showing encouraging trends down. There has been a 4 percent decrease in the range of offences of homicide, kidnapping, robbery, grievous assault, serious assault and sexual attacks.

“Overall crime has fallen in 10 of the 12 police districts. These results, while encouraging, are only provisional. The two districts to reflect an upward trend were Auckland and North Shore/Waitakere. However, in the worst violent offences Auckland showed no change. North Shore/Waitakere bucked the national trend and was up 3 percent.

“Police resources are being boosted in the wider Auckland region. A $2.5 million package announced in June provides for an additional 60 non-sworn staff to free-up sworn police officers for front line duties. And 43 of the 66 new officers who graduated from the Royal Police College in June were bound for Auckland,” Mr Hawkins said.

Justice Minister Phil Goff stressed there is no cause for complacency and the Government is listening to the public’s concerns about crime.

“The new Sentencing and Parole Acts came into force on 1 July and the worst offenders will now face tougher penalties and longer in prison. That is why the Government is having to spend $90 million on new prisons and expanding existing prison capacity to cater for an expected increase in 300-400 inmates.

“Tougher sentencing is only one part of the answer. Tackling the causes of crime is the only long-term solution to bringing down offending of all types.

“The Government is investing $93 million into the Youth Offending Strategy to help get to the young people of today to prevent them becoming the adult criminals of tomorrow.

“A new 18-month serious young offender programme, the Youth Drug Court, Day Reporting Centres and markedly improving Family Group Conferences are among parts of the strategy which are being implemented.

“The figures released today, while encouraging, represent only a small step in arresting the huge increase in violent crime over the 1990s. The current Government is committed to a balanced approach to the problem of punishment and prevention,” Mr Goff said.


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