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Crime stats show drop in murder numbers

14 August 2003 Media Statement

Crime stats show drop in murder numbers, excellent resolution rates

New crime statistics reveal resolution rates for total crime and several key offence areas are among the best in recent times.

Police Minister George Hawkins says official crime statistics released today for the July year 2002/03, show a national total crime resolution rate of 43.7 per cent compared with a low of 29.8 per cent in 1991/92.

The figures show murder offences to June 30 2003 dropped to 57 from 67 the year before.

The resolution rate for drug and anti-social offences was 90.3 per cent, compared with 86.6 per cent in 1991/92, a 79.6 per cent resolution rate for violence offences compared with 72.2 per cent in 1991/92, and a 57.2 per cent resolution of sexual offences compared with 48.6 per cent in 1991/92.

Burglary resolution rates were nearly double what they were in the 1990s. Last year's 60,816 burglary offences had a resolution rate of nearly 18 per cent, compared with 9.7 per cent for the 96,339 burglaries in 1992.

Mr Hawkins said dishonesty, property damage and property abuse, and administrative categories also showed increased rates of resolution and the message for offenders was clear.

"One of the main deterrents to committing crime is the fear of being caught. These statistics show police are making the most of modern policing techniques, including DNA capability, to resolve more crime and catch more offenders," he said.

The figures should also lie to rest concerns police were preoccupied with traffic enforcement.

"Road deaths in New Zealand totalled 416, the lowest since records started in 1965. That New Zealand is also experiencing its lowest road toll on record is partly attributable to police especially targeting excessive speed. No-one should have a problem with bringing the road toll down," Mr Hawkins said. These figures underline police are not only doing well in the traffic area, they are also performing well across the board, he said.

Attached At A GLANCE sheet

RECORDED CRIME AND ROAD POLICING STATISTICS

FINANCIAL YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2003

General

- Overall resolution rate of 43.7% is the highest recorded in New Zealand in 20 years. In 1991/1992 the resolution rate was 29.8%.

- Total crime increased 2.5%, against a population increase of 1.9%.

- This reflects considerable proactive law enforcement effort in context of the increased population.

Districts

- Crime in Waikato decreased by 3.5% and by 2.7% in Northland District

- Ten of the twelve districts' resolution rates improved with Northland leading the way with 53%.

- Tasman's resolution rate increased from 47.2% to 52.4% and Bay of Plenty's resolution rate from 41.5% to 46%.

Dishonesty

- A slight increase of 1.5%, with burglary from dwellings, car theft and theft from cars being the main contributors.

- An increase in the resolution rate from 22.8% to 23.8%.

Violence

- Increase of 3.6 percent, mostly at the lower end, threatening behaviour/language and offensive weapon possession.

- Family offences increased by 4%, reflecting increased police and community focus on family violence.

- Kidnapping and abduction increased by 20.5% from 185 to 223 offences.

Sexual offences

- A decrease of 6% from 3,544 in 2001/2002 to 3312 offences in 2002/2003. Research suggests this is a significantly under-reported category and may therefore not be a true indicator of the actual level of offending.

Drugs and Anti Social

- Drugs and anti social offences increased by 4.9%.

- Non-cannabis offences rose by 380 offences from 2,708 to 3,088 offences.

- Police put 154 dangerous clandestine laboratories out of action this financial year compared to 66 in 2001/2002.

- An increase of 78%, from 1263 to 2249 in Sale of Liquor Act offences, reflecting the focus by Police on reducing alcohol-related offending and victimization.

Property and Administrative offences

- Police impounded 359 "boy racer' cars this financial year. Districts report the new "Boy Racer' Act is working and incidents have significantly reduced.

- Administrative offences are up by 2.5%, the increase reflects breaches of bylaws in relation to liquor bans.

- Property offences decreased by 2.7%.

Homicides

- Homicide dropped from 112 to 108 offences; this includes attempted murder, abortion and aiding suicide offences.

- A decrease of 10 murders in the financial year. There were 57 murder offences compared to 67 in the 2001/2002 financial year.

Road Policing

- Road toll was 416 in 2002/2003 the best since records started in 1965.

- Speeding offences under 100km/h increased by 66%, this reflects targeting of the 11-15 kph range of speeds over the legal limit.

- 2% reduction in drink drive offences, the result of continued focus on drink driving and roll out of 5 more CBT teams.

- Dangerous/reckless driving offences increased by 12%.

- Failure to give way offences increased by 15% from 31,396 to 36,054.

- Safety belt offences and infringements are up 67%, this increase is due to increased police focus on those who are not wearing them to improve compliance rates, and reduce severity of crashes.

Source: Police Media Unit.


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