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Lowest crime rate since 1983

Lowest crime rate since 1983

A government prepared to put its money where its mouth is, combined with pro-active policing, has resulted in New Zealand posting its lowest crime rate since 1983.

Police Minister George Hawkins says official crime statistics released by Police today show recorded offences per 10,000 head of population for the year to June 2004 numbered 1,053.7. This is the lowest rate since 1983.

"The figures also show a 4.7 percent drop in recorded crime, or an average of 403 fewer victims of recorded crime each week in New Zealand compared with the year before. This is simply a stunning result," Mr Hawkins said.

Recorded crime rates fell in 10 of the country's 12 police Districts, with the two remaining Districts showing a rise of only 1.4 percent each.

On a per 10,000 head of population basis crime fell in every Police District, with total crime falling 6.5 percent across the country for the year.

"Counties Manukau, Central and Auckland Police Districts led the way clocking spectacular falls of 16.5 percent, 12.8 percent and 11.8 percent respectively," Mr Hawkins said.

Around the country, overall recorded offences fell in five of the seven crime categories namely Violence, Sexual, Drugs and Anti-Social, Dishonesty, Property Damage, Property Abuses, and Administrative.

Total recorded crime for the year numbered 426,149 recorded offences, compared with 447,146 for the previous year.

"That means there were 20,997 less victims of crime nationally for the twelve months, or an average drop of 403 fewer victims of crime a week around the country in the period," Mr Hawkins said.

At the same time resolution rates rose 1.4 percent to 45.1 percent, placing New Zealand's rate of catching crooks among the highest in the world.

Nationally: recorded dishonesty offences fell 6.7 percent, including burglary down 0.3 percent, car conversion down 8.3 percent, fraud 19.8 percent, and theft 7.4 percent. recorded sexual offences dropped 4 per cent recorded property abuse fell 6 percent recorded administrative offences fell 24.7 percent recorded violence offences appeared to be levelling off falling 1 percent, including homicide down 7.4 percent and minor assaults down 6.8 percent recorded drugs and anti-social offences rose 2.9 percent, disorder and cannabis only offences fell 4.3 and 11.4 percent respectively, and drugs and anti-social resolution rates were 92.1 percent compared with 90.3 percent the year before. Recorded property damage rose 1.9 percent. "Figures like these show Police deserve the community's thanks for a fine result and also dispel the myth they focus solely on traffic offences at the expense of other crime," Mr Hawkins said.

The results reflected a supportive government prepared to ensure staff had the resources to do their job, including a police budget at its highest ever at over $1b a year, police numbers at their highest ever at 9737, including 7450 sworn officers and 2287 non-sworn staff, a $70m building programme and a new vehicle purchasing programme that would see up to $29.2m spent on around 850 new vehicles in each of the next three financial years.

Highlights from the Police Districts:

Northland Police District (covers an area of 12,844 square km and stretches between Kaiwaka and Cape Reinga): Overall recorded crime totalled 15,913 offences for the year, down 3.8 percent (4.6 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) from 16,550 offences the year before. This translates 637 fewer victims of crime for the year, or 12 fewer victims of crime in the District per week Recorded car conversions fell 22 percent in the year, fraud 23 percent and sexual offences 6.5 percent Police resolved 52.8 percent of recorded crime in the area, higher than the national average for the year of 45.1 percent.

Auckland Police District (covers between Herne Bay and Freeman’s Bay to the north, St Heliers to the East, Onehunga in the south and Avondale in the west): Total recorded crime fell 8.7 percent (11.8 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) from 56,686 offences from 62,075 in 2002/03 5389 fewer victims of recorded crime for the year An average of 103 fewer recorded crimes a week.

Counties-Manukau District (covers from Pokeno over the Bombay hills, to Otahuhu and the coastline of Maraetai in the east to Port Waikato to the west): Overall recorded crime fell 13.9 percent (16.5 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) in the District, the biggest drop in the country in the year to June 2004 7160 fewer victims of recorded crime for the twelve months 137 fewer victims of recorded crime per week 44,278 recorded offences, compared with 51,438 for the previous year In Manurewa there were 39 fewer victims of recorded crime a week Overall recorded crime in the Area fell 16.9 percent to 10,126 offences from 12,191 for the previous year, or 2065 fewer crimes for the twelve months Resolution rates for the year were 39.2, up 2.9 percent on the previous year Recorded dishonesty offences fell 17.4 percent, including burglaries down 19 percent with 1454 offences compared with 1806 offences previously, while car conversions dropped 20 percent. Fraud and receiving each fell 21 percent while theft fell 14 percent to 2714 offences from 3168. In Mangere, recorded crime fell 12 percent with falls across six of seven crime categories Recorded violence fell 18.4 percent, including serious and minor assaults down 19 percent and 27 percent respectively, sexual attacks fell to 40 incidents from 57 the year before, a drop of 30 percent, and car conversions fell to 525 incidents from 703 previously – a drop of 25 percent.

North Shore/ Waitakere Police District: (the second largest District in the country, covers north of the Harbour Bridge across the North Shore to Mangawhai, up to Helensville and Waitakere and through to New Lynn. Also encompasses the 106-km stretch of motorway from the Bombay Hills north to Orewa): Overall recorded crime 39,688 offences from 40,570, or 2.2 percent (5.3 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) less than the previous year. 882 fewer victims of recorded crime for the year, or 16 fewer victims of recorded crime a week for the 12 months in the District Recorded violence offences down 4.4 percent, including serious and minor assaults down 6 and 3 percent respectively Recorded dishonesty offences down 2.3 percent, including car conversion down 6 percent and fraud down 24 percent.

Waikato Police District (includes Te Kauwhata in the north, Benneydale in the south, Raglan to the west and includes the Coromandel Peninsula to the east) Overall recorded offences down 2.7 percent (4.2 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) to 30,748 from 31,615 last year 48.5 percent of recorded crimes resolved compared with 45.1 percent during 2002/03 Recorded grievous assaults down 14 percent, robbery down 10 percent and homicide down 17 percent. Recorded burglaries fell 9 percent, fraud 39 percent and receiving and theft 19 and 8 percent respectively.

Bay of Plenty Police District (from Katikati in the north to the tip of the Bay of Plenty in the east and into the central North Island south of Turangi): Overall recorded crime fell 0.1 percent (1.5 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) 48.8 percent of recorded crimes solved, up 2.8 percent In Tauranga, recorded violence and dishonesty crimes down 2.5 percent and 9.9 percent respectively, minor assaults at 144 compared with 174 the year before, burglaries at 577 from 604 and 92 fewer car conversions In Whakatane, recorded burglaries down 10 percent to 944 from 1044 the previous year, fraud down 44 percent to 88 offences from 158 the year before, and theft down 14 percent fall to 1507 from 1762 the year previous.

Central Police District (includes the North Taranaki Bight, across to the Ruapehu District, south to Otaki in the west and across to the Tararua ranges in the east): Overall recorded crime down 12.5 percent (12.8 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) to 31,114 offences from 35,539. An average of 4425 fewer victims of recorded crime for the twelve months, or an average drop of 85 victims of recorded crime a week Recorded violent crime down 5.4 percent on last year. Over 90 percent of recorded violent crimes resolved, compared with 87.9 percent the previous year.

Eastern Police District (extends from near the tip of East Cape through to southern Hawkes Bay.) Overall recorded crime at 23,647 offences, down 4.1 percent (4.5 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) from 24,657 previously 19 less recorded crimes per week in the period 23.2 percent fall in recorded sexual offending and a 5.4 percent fall in property damage for the year 52 percent of recorded crimes resolved compared with 49.7 percent the previous year.

Canterbury Police District (covers the coastal plains though the foothills, to high in the Southern Alps. From the Conway River just south of Kaikoura, to the Waitaki River, south of Timaru): Overall recorded crime fell 0.4 percent (2.2 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) Total recorded crime numbered 50,042 offences from 50,242 offences the previous year The resolution rate for the year for recorded crime was 36.3 percent compared with 35.6 percent the previous year Recorded sexual offences fell 3.4 percent, including an 11 percent drop in sexual attacks to 257 offences from 288 the year before.

Southern Police District (covers Oamaru in the north through to Stewart Island in the far south of the South Island. Includes areas of Central Otago, Queenstown, Wanaka, Fiordland and the lakes of the McKenzie Basin in the Otago/Southland hinterland): Overall recorded crime at 30,651 offences, down of 4 percent (5 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) from 31,935 the year before. 1284 fewer victims of recorded crime in the District for the year, or 24.6 less victims of recorded crime per week. 51.8 percent of recorded crime resolved compared with 49.2 percent the previous year. 22 percent decrease in recorded car conversions, dishonesty and sexual offences down 11.9 percent and 4.7 percent respectively.

Wellington Police District (covers the southern portion of the North Island below Waikanae on the west coast across to Castle Point on the east, to 467 nautical miles east to the Chatham Islands) Total recorded crime rose 1.4 percent (or fell 0.1 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) to 46,194 offences from 45,541 the previous year Police resolved 47.5 percent of recorded crime compared with 46.2 percent the year before, above this year's national average of 45.1 percent. Recorded violence offences fell 3.3 percent to 5,222 offences, grievous assaults down 3 percent and minor assaults down 11 percent Recorded car conversions dropped 9 percent to 3,192 offences from 3,498.

Tasman District Police (stretches from south of Haast on the West Coast to the top of Farewell Spit at the top of the South Island, across to Kaikoura in the east coast): Total recorded crime rose 1.4 percent (or fell 0.3 percent on a per 10,000 head of population basis) to 16,925 offences from 16,684 the previous year. Tasman Police District topped the country in its recorded crime resolution rate at 53 percent compared with this year's record national average for resolutions of 45.1 percent. Recorded drug and anti-social offences in the District totalled 2621, a fall of 16 percent with 3122 the previous year 91 percent of recorded drug and anti-social offences solved, compared with 87.8 percent the previous year.

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