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Violence a Concern But Overall Crime Stable

Violence a Concern But Overall Crime Stable
New Zealand Police Wellington News Release
11:12am 1 April 2008

Increases in violence, drug and alcohol fuelled offending are key drivers in the 1 percent rise in total recorded crime in the Wellington Police District.

Statistics for the 2007 calendar year released today show a relatively stable crime picture for the Wellington District (Wellington City Area, Kapiti Mana, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and the Wairarapa) although levels of violent and anti social offending remain a concern.

Three of the five Areas in the district recorded overall decreases in total reported crime:

• Wairarapa dropped 11.4 percent to 3824 offences
• Upper Hutt dropped 8.3 percent to 3537 offences
• Kapiti Mana dropped 0.3 percent to 8580 offences.

Two Areas recorded total crime increases:

• Lower Hutt went up 3.3 percent to 10,315 offences
• Wellington City Area went up 5.7 percent to 17,570 offences.

Total recorded crime for Wellington District went up 1 percent or 442 offences from 43,384 in 2006 to 43,826 last year. More people were being caught however with crime resolution rates going up from 42.8 percent to 45.7 percent during the same period.

All five police Areas increased their resolution rates for the 12 months:

• Kapiti Mana went up from 45.5 percent to 50.8 percent
• Wellington City Area went up from 40.5 percent to 43.1 percent
• Wairarapa went up from 48.6 percent to 54.3 percent
• Lower Hutt went up from 40.4 percent to 41.9 percent
• Upper Hutt went up from 46.5 percent to 47.4 percent.

Superintendent Pieri Munro, Wellington District Commander, said overall performance is encouraging and reflects the strong commitment from police, partner agencies and the public to tackling safety issues in our homes and on the street.

"A 6 percent drop in crimes of dishonesty, including burglaries, car crime and theft is good news for everyone," he said. "Police and community efforts have directly contributed to the decrease in dishonesty offending.

"Improved reporting methods, better intelligence, specialist burglary squads, advancements in the gathering and analysis of evidence, and targeted police patrols have been part of the success," he said. "Our efforts have been strengthened by working together with councils, businesses and the public on crime prevention initiatives.

"The availability of security cameras, safety campaigns, improvements in environmental design, the presence of council security staff, community patrols, Neighbourhood Support Groups, and our own newly formed community engagement teams are vital to this success.

"Our challenge is harnessing this same energy and commitment into reducing violent crime which has increased 10.8 percent in the last year."

Total violence went up by 664 offences from 6155 to 6819, with most of the increase in serious and grievous assaults.

The increase in the availability of alcohol is also a factor, both from extended licensing hours in city centres and consumption of low priced alcohol in the home.

Superintendent Munro said he's confident that some of the strategies already in place are beginning to reshape attitudes and tolerance to violence and alcohol related crime. "The work around strengthening families, public awareness campaigns, encouraging women to report violence and making offenders accountable for their actions are positive steps and we'll see more of this in the future.

"We are putting more energy into reducing violence both in our approach to investigations, the appointment of new family violence coordinators and our on-going work with other agencies and community groups."

He said people need to and should feel safe in their homes and on the street. "Some of the increase in violent crime is to be expected as it comes through better reporting of crime, increased police visibility and presence where and when it's needed most."

Additional resources have put more staff into the district wide team policing unit, a mobile resource which patrols the CBD and entertainment areas but is also available to deal with mass disorder outside the Wellington city area.

"Putting our people in places at key times creates a safety factor for citizens, and it also increases our chances of catching people when crime happens," Superintendent Munro said.

He said police are enforcing council public area liquor bans as an effective tool in tackling alcohol issues.

"We won't pretend that we have everything right but we are making some progress,' he said. "We've used Government New Initiative funding to create new four person community engagement teams in Porirua, Lower Hutt and Wellington city. These teams have a special project focus on family violence, community, ethnic and youth issues.

"They add to the work already being done by other police staff - our frontline patrol staff, investigators, community constables and youth services staff. By working together we can make a positive difference to community safety."


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