National crime statistics for 2002
National crime statistics for 2002
Crime per head of population continues to trend downwards, Commissioner Rob Robinson said today.
Over the last six years overall recorded crime in New Zealand has dropped by 7.8% against a population increase of 4.3%, and over the same period the Police rate for resolving crime has improved by 5%.
Police Commissioner Rob Robinson said it was important to put the recorded crime for the last year into perspective over the longer timeframe to give a far better indication of the real trend in crime in New Zealand.
Recorded offences for 2002 were up slightly by 3.2% on the previous year while the Police resolved 5,458 more crimes despite the increase in the number of offences.
The total number of offences reported to Police for the 2002 calendar year was 440,129 compared to 426,526 in the 2001 calendar year.
The level of offending per 10,000 population has dropped from 1,274 in 1996 to 1,112 in 2002.
"Despite an increase in the number of recorded offences it is very pleasing to note the level of resolved crime has kept pace, and this against the steady increase in population," said Mr Robinson.
Central District has led the trend with reduced recorded crime every year for the past seven years. Resolution rates in nine of the twelve Districts were well above the national average of 41.9% with Northland leading the way with 51.6%, North Shore/Waitakere 50.5% and Tasman 49.8%
"Looking at the main cities, Auckland District has put the brakes on the rate of crime from an increase of 6.6% in 2001 to an increase of 3.5% in 2002 and increased the number of crimes resolved. Wellington and Canterbury’s recorded crime rate increase is well below the national average of 3.2% at 0.8% and 0.7% respectively" said Mr Robinson.
"The overall rise in recorded crime nationally can be put down to a 4% increase in the largest crime category, dishonesty. Dishonesty offences, (which includes burglary) make up the bulk of crime at 59%.
Recorded burglaries remained stable in 2002. As New Zealand’s population also rose over this period, this represents a net decrease in the rate of burglary offences per 10,000 people of 1.5%, down from 155 burglaries per 10,000 people in 2001 to 153 burglaries per 10,000 people in 2002.
Recorded crime in the dishonesty categories has mostly been caused by a rise in car conversion and vehicle related theft which has increased by 8.5% from 86,315 offences in 2001 to 93,672 in 2002.
"District Commanders are well aware of these issues and have been working to target car offending. There is increasing attention on evidence gathering such as fingerprinting of recovered vehicles. Often a good catch of a single offender in this category clears many crimes," Mr Robinson said.
Although the overall number of recorded offences is similar to the previous year, two significant areas of growth have been methamphetamine drugs and vehicle related thefts.
As the difficulties, risks and consequences of burglary increase, offenders may be turning to what they may perceive as easier targets - motor vehicles. Police continue to encourage the public to increase the security of their vehicles through locks, alarms, storage, lighting and not leaving valuables visible in their cars.
Recorded violence rose 2.1 %, compared to 5.9% for the last calendar year period. Canterbury had a very pleasing drop in violence offences of 8.3%.
While we’re pleased that the rate of growth in violence is much smaller than last year we are continuing to work on a strategy to address violent offending as one of Police and the Government’s top priorities.
"At the end of the day though, the key to reductions in violence lies with the community and the attitudes and behaviour of individuals," said Mr. Robinson.
Recorded sexual offences increased 17%. However, the numbers in this category are small compared to other categories. There has been an increase of 399 offences from 3,109 to 3,508 offences.
"This may well be attributed to a heightened awareness of sex abuse issues, publicity around historical abuse and increased hits on our DNA database, leading to positive identification of sex offenders. Officers are tending to charge family violence offenders with more serious offences in recognition of the very low tolerance society have for this abhorrent behaviour," he said.
Homicides and robberies
Homicide offences rose from 93 in 2001 to 122 in 2002. Each homicide has its own set of contributing factors and there is no evidence of a single reason for this year’s increase. It should be noted that internationally, the range of offences deemed ‘homicide’ varies significantly. In New Zealand, homicide statistics include Attempted Murder, Abortion and Aiding Suicide.
Property and administrative offences
Property abuses were up by 0.2%. Wellington District recorded an excellent result of a 9.1% decrease in property abuses. Administrative offences rose by 9.6%. A contributing factor to the increase in administrative offences is proactive work by Police around enforcing liquor bans.
Drugs and anti-social
There was a marginal increase (0.6%) in the drugs and antisocial category. Non-cannabis related drug crimes such as those involving amphetamine type stimulants rose by 28.4% a difference of 629 offences from 2,212 to 2,841.
This increase is primarily due to a rise in local methamphetamine production and distribution and increased Police detection of clandestine laboratories, with the associated safety risks to both Police staff and the community.
Last year Police put 147 clandestine methamphetamine laboratories out of action.
The methamphetamine issue is relatively new and has required upskilling. Police have responded by undergoing specialist training and proactively targeting this type of offending, assisted by a focus from Police intelligence analysis.
There was a 7.5% decrease in cannabis related offences. While possession offences went down there was an increase in the number of dealing offences. Liquor offences increased by 34.8%.
Disorder increased by 3.4%. Alcohol related strategies implemented in some districts are proving effective in combating disorder and these strategies will be further developed at district and national level.
Increase in public trust and confidence
Although policing activity is just one factor affecting trends in levels of offending, Police actively evaluate the impact of various initiatives, seek to identify examples of 'best practice', and are continually taking steps to improve effectiveness.
The high demands for service and the challenges this poses for Police managers and staff have in no way compromised public trust and confidence in the service. Public trust and confidence in Police is at an all time high at 80% percent.
Police staff and
Commissioner Rob Robinson said average staff levels for the past two years were: 7,045 in 2001 and 7,208 in 2002, an increase of 2.3%.
It’s good to see improvements in the Auckland districts reflecting the various initiatives taken in this last year. If we look at this in relation to the number of recorded crime cases at 3.2%, clearly, Police productivity has increased."
Crime trends need to be looked at over time. There is no one part of the country that is a key driver. Crime performance by type and occurrence fluctuates district by district and year by year. As the District Commander for Southern has observed quite a small number of homicide or organised crime cases can temporarily impact on statistics. This is when resources are focussed on short term unforeseen crime compared with ongoing volume crime such as dishonesty offending.
"In conclusion, publication of the crime statistics would not be complete without reference to road policing. Road policing represents well over 20% of the services provided by NZ Police. Our offence statistics for the calendar year show our increased focus on safety related offences is working.
"Our enforcement activity is producing very positive road safety results. The road toll for the year ended 2002 was 404, the lowest for 40 years," said Mr Robinson.
The increased Highway Patrol presence continues to modify driving behaviour by providing a strong deterrent effect.
The 2002 year end statistics for drink driving offences were down by 6.6%.
"Our targeted approach and increased general deterrent focus has shown an increase of 40.8% in the detection of speeding offences under 100 kph and the detection of speeding offences over 100 kph have increased by 29.3%. These results are showing the continued enforcement of the 10km/hr tolerance policy and have resulted in mean speed reductions. Our roads are now also calmer than they have been for many years.
"Photo driver licences and roadside vehicle impoundment sanctions have led to a significant drop in crashes involving unlicensed and disqualified drivers. The 2002 year statistics show a 4.5% decrease in these offences. It is really encouraging to see the progress we've made, but we will be keeping the pressure on.
"We will continue to reduce deaths on our roads by changing drivers' attitudes and behaviour relating to speed, drink-driving and safety belt wearing," said Mr Robinson.