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Continuing drop in recorded crime pleases police

Continuing drop in recorded crime pleases police

Crime statistics released today show recorded crime continues to fall with recorded offences decreasing 5.8 percent over the last year.

There were 416,324 total recorded offences in the period 1 July 2010 – 30 June 2011 – down 25,636 offences.

New Zealand’s resident population rose 1.2 percent in the same period and when this is taken into account, recorded offences per head of population dropped by 7 percent.

Deputy Police Commissioner Viv Rickard said the results are very positive and reflect the police and public commitment to prevention and community safety strategies.

The largest decreases were in Canterbury (-14.6 percent), Southern (-10.3 percent), Tasman (-8.4 percent), Central (-6.7 percent) and Waitemata (-6.1 percent).

The overall national resolution rate was 47.3 percent, which is just under 1 percent lower than the previous year.

Among other things, the latest figures show that:

• Homicide and related offending dropped 23.8 percent (down 29 offences from 122 to 93). This reversed an increase of 34 offences in the previous year.

• 34 murders were recorded in the period compared with 65 the previous year. This is the lowest figure on record since fiscal year reporting began in 1986. 20 of the murders were recorded as being family violence related – down from 35 in the 2009/10 fiscal year.

• Recorded family violence related offences dropped 3.1 percent and included a 2.1 percent reduction in family violence assaults – reversing trends of previous years.

• Acts intended to cause injury dropped 3.9 percent (down 1,756 offences from 45,350 to 43,594). These are mainly assault related offences. Common assaults and serious assaults resulting in injury both fell 2.8 percent.

• Serious assaults not resulting in injury reduced 7.5 percent compared with the previous year. Within this group male assaults female dropped 11.4 percent (from 4275 offences to 3787) and there was a 20 percent drop in assaults on law enforcement officers (down from 1731 offences to 1384).

• Illicit drug offences reduced 14.7 percent from 24,580 offences to 20,973. The largest reductions were in cannabis (down 14.6 percent) and new drugs (mostly methamphetamine - down 19.4 percent).

• Theft and related offending (which makes up more than 30 percent of all recorded crime), Burglary and Robbery offending all dropped. Nationally, 20,345 vehicles were recorded stolen (down by 16) but thefts from cars dropped by 3,048 offences to 37,954. The latter is influenced by factors such as the increased availability of car security alarms, particularly in modern vehicles, and crime prevention awareness.

• Sexual assault and related offending, which is known to be under reported to police, increased 12.4 percent (up 366 offences to 3,327).

• Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons increased 17.2 percent (up 133 offences to 905).

“The last 12 months have been a particularly eventful year in New Zealand. I commend the commitment from all of our staff as we dealt with some significant issues including the response to the Canterbury earthquakes,” Deputy Commissioner Rickard said.

“The earthquake factor has without a doubt influenced crime reductions in the Canterbury District, particularly in theft and related offending, which dropped by almost 20 percent.

“Theft related crime is traditionally low in value but high in volume, and a source of great frustration and violation for victims, not just in Canterbury but everywhere.

"There was a noticeable drop in minor thefts after the February earthquake, and while it’s hard to define the reason, I firmly believe that this was helped by so many people rallying to help their families, friends, neighbours and even strangers during very stressful times.

“We also had significant numbers of additional police working in the city providing reassurance patrols and supporting their colleagues. This high visibility and the fact that the CBD was so badly affected and cordoned off will also have been a contributing factor.”

Deputy Commissioner Rickard said that nationally, the reduction in murder and family violence offences is extremely encouraging for everyone working to improve the safety and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

“Thirty four murders in a year is the lowest since fiscal year crime statistics began being reported 25 years ago. This is good news in one sense but we all need to remember that one murder and one family member assaulted, whether it is a child or an adult, is one victim too many.

“The message has been heard loud and clear from all levels of society that violence, especially in the home, is not okay. I believe that innovative campaigns, the police priority on family violence, support from partner agencies and the introduction of new initiatives including Police Safety Orders are making a positive difference.

Deputy Commissioner Rickard warned however that there is no room for complacency. The statistics released today are one indicator of success, but police and communities must continue to work together to find new ways of lessening the risk of crime from happening.

“We are already seeing the benefits of new prevention and innovative based activities implemented as part of our Policing Excellence work programme,” he said. “Neighbourhood Policing teams, high visibility policing and targeted Intel led crime prevention initiatives are working.

“Our challenge is to ensure the momentum continues with help from the public.”


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