Police resolve more crime - Statistics released
In the twelve months to June 2006 Police have resolved over 13,500 more offences and resolutions are up in all categories despite a 6.9% increase in the recorded crime rate per 10,000 population over the 04/05 year said Commissioner Howard Broad.
This comes on the back of the 8.1% reduction in recorded crime rate for the 04/05 year.
Taking this year's increase into account, the recorded crime rate is nearly 20% down on what it was a decade ago.
The increases in recorded crime are in the property damage category (15.3%), violence (10.2%), drugs and anti-social (6.3%), and dishonesty (7.8%).
Wilful damage, which includes graffiti tagging by youths, is driving the increase in property damage. Police, often in partnership with local community initiatives, are giving focus to this type of crime.
Some of the increase in recorded offences can be attributed to changes in recording practices associated with the migration from the Law Enforcement System (LES - Wanganui) to the National Intelligence Application (NIA).
"It is difficult to quantify precisely just how much of the increase in recorded crime results from the change from the LES to the NIA computer system but a step change certainly occurred around the time of the system conversion. While the new computer system simply picked up the recording rules from the previous system it made the process itself easier. This has been confirmed by an independent report [from Axist Consulting]," said Mr Broad.
Two Districts recorded slight drops in the recorded crime rate - Tasman (-3%) and Canterbury (-3.4%) while in the other ten Districts the most notable increases came in Counties Manukau (22.6%), Waikato (16.5%) and Eastern (11.6%).
"The crime statistics results underscore the intention of the Police Executive to weight its allocation of new staffing resources heavily in favour of districts north of Taupo."
Dishonesty offences (7.8% increase)
Dishonesty offences continue to be the largest category with theft (+7%) making up just over half of these offences. Fraud continued to drop (-9%) compared with last year (-26%).
The most significant increase in this category was derived through an additional 5,611 (+17%) car conversion, 3,914 (+11%) dwelling burglary and 741 (33%) receiving.
Mr Broad said dishonesty offences were the category which impacted the greatest number of victims.
"Initiatives under-way in greater Auckland for the appointment of Crime Scene Attenders and the switching on of the single non-emergency number demonstration project across Auckland and the Bay of Plenty in November, will probably push up the numbers reported.
"While we all want to see crime trending down, rising recorded crime is not necessarily a bad thing. It can indicate increasing confidence in Police and improvements in the proactivity of Police in tackling crime head on," said Mr Broad.
Violence (10.2% increase)
As expected, this is consistent with the increase in reporting and recording of domestic violence experienced over recent years.
The Districts with the most significant increases in recorded violence have cited alcohol as the principal factor along with youth gang activity in northern districts.
The resolution rate of violence offences has increased to 81.3% an increase of 0.5% over the previous year and reflects police focus on such crimes.
Homicide offences went up from 80 to 105. These statistics include murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, infanticide, abortion and aiding suicide.
There were 59 recorded murders in the 12 months to June 06 compared with 45 in the previous 12 months.
Commissioner Broad said when it came to violence Police were stepping up their coordination of effort with local community partners, central government agencies and non-government organisations.
"In many ways Police are the agency of last resort. We often have to sweep up the mess of public place and family violence. Ownership of the problem needs to be accepted by the whole community and no New Zealand community can be smug about this issue.
"While problems in South Auckland may dominate the news headlines, violence is endemic throughout the country. Everyone needs to focus on this subject.
"New Zealand has got so much going for it compared to many countries around the world but we've got to make a more determined effort to break the cycle of violence and to live up to the family values which we tell the rest of the world that we cherish," said Mr Broad.
Sexual offences (8.2% increase)
Although sexual offences make up only 0.8% of recorded crime and are known to be under-reported to Police, the change in Counties Manukau has been significant with an increase from 400 offences in 04/05 to 586 in 05/06 (+47%). The District is citing alcohol as a principal factor in these crimes, both for offender and victim; especially in cases involving young female victims.
Drugs and anti-social (6.3% increase)
In this category "new drugs" (methamphetamine-type drugs) recorded an increase of 50% but just as significant cannabis and other non-cannabis drug offences recorded increases for the first time in recent years. This is consistent with an 8% increase in Police time spent on drug enforcement.
Police discovered 203 clandestine laboratories compared with 193 in 04/05.
Property damage (15.3% increase)
There was a significant increase in this category due the activities of youth gangs and graffiti tagging. Police are working closely with local authorities to focus on graffiti related offending.
"When some young people believe that tagging is a source of enriching self-esteem it's as much a cry for help as it is a crime. Alphabet and Number youth gangs and other street culture are certainly a worry. But Police are not into hand wringing. We will continue to actively target this type of offending while working energetically with social agencies to address the underlying causes," said Mr Broad.
The road toll shows a consistent and steady improvement as we work toward our goal of no more than 300 fatalities by the year 2010. To date the number of fatalities at 272 for this calendar year is lower than ever before.
"While we have made great strides in ensuring New Zealanders are safer on the roads, we still have a number of areas that cause us great concern said Mr Broad.
"The numbers of young people that are dying on our roads is still far too high and represents a tragic waste for the whole community."
The introduction of the reduced tolerance around schools in February this year - "Speed Kill Kids" has accounted for heightened awareness of the dangers to children and young people around schools and increased safety for children moving around their communities.
The crime statistics for the 05/06 financial year will be available on the Statistics NZ web site at 11.00 am today: