8 March 2004
Crime per head of population continues downward trend
Crime per head of population continues to trend downwards, Commissioner Rob Robinson said today. There was a 1.2 percent reduction in recorded offences per 10,000 population for the 2003 calendar year.
Recorded offences were up very slightly by 0.5 percent on the previous year. The increase in offences is due to proactive alcohol-related crime prevention work underway in districts.
The Police resolved 8,075 more crimes in 2003 than the previous year, increasing the resolution rate from 41.9 percent to 43.5 percent. The total number of offences reported to Police for the 2003 calendar year was 442,489 compared to 440,129 in the 2002 calendar year.
â€œTaking into account the population increase, the result is a good effort especially when a significant amount of the rise is attributable to proactive policing and successful detection of crime in conjunction with our local authority partners and the community,â€ said Mr Robinson.
Eight of the twelve Police Districts recorded decreases in total recorded crime per 10,000 head of population. Northland District recorded the biggest reduction with 7.1 percent fewer recorded offences than the previous 12 month period, followed by Waikato District, (-7 percent) and Counties/Manukau (-5.4 percent). These districts successfully reversed their increases of the previous calendar year.
Northland attributes much of the reduction in offending to effective targeting of offenders and Waikato attributes their decrease to targeting the methamphetamine problem with an emphasis on suppliers.
Resolution rates were up in nine of the twelve Districts with Northland, Tasman and Southern well above the national average of 43.5 percent, with 51.5 percent and 51 percent respectively.
Counties Manukau District has reversed the rate of crime from an increase of 8.3 percent in 2002 to an decrease of 2.6 percent in 2003. The District attributes this to targeting repeat victimisation and increasing directed patrolling of locations known for public place violence. Wellington recorded the greatest increase in offences per 10,000 population (4.8 percent), driven by an increase in dwelling burglaries and theft from cars offences. District management are currently embarking on a concentrated effort to achieve reductions in both crime categories.
Dishonesty offences make up the bulk of crime at 57.7 percent. There was an overall 1.4 percent decrease in this category, which includes burglaries, car theft offences, fraud, receiving and theft. Burglary increased by
2 percent from 60,404 offences in 2002 to 61,630 offences in 2003. Car theft increased by 0.5%, compared to an increase of 8.3 percent in the 2002 year.
Recorded violence rose 1.5 percent, compared to a rise of 2.1 percent for the last calendar year period. The resolution rate for violent offences also improved from 77.8 percent in 2002 to 79.9 percent in 2003. Counties Manukau had an excellent drop in violence offences of 8.4 percent.
Recorded sexual offences decreased 7.4 percent compared to an increase of 12.8 percent last calendar year. However, the numbers in this category are small compared to other categories. There has been a decrease of 258 offences from 3508 to 3250 sexual offences in 2003.
Homicides and robberies:
Homicide offences dropped from 122 in 2002 to 104 in 2003. Homicide statistics include Murder, Attempted Murder, Manslaughter, Infanticide, Abortion and Aiding Suicide. Murder offences dropped by 20 from 66 in 2002 to 46 in 2003.
Property and administrative offences:
Property abuses decreased by 4.9 percent and property damage increased by 6.9 percent. Administrative offences increased by 2.6 percent compared to an increase of 9.6% in 2002.
Drugs and anti-social:
There was an increase of 6.2 percent in the drugs and antisocial category. Non-cannabis related drug crimes such as those involving amphetamine type stimulants increased by 24.8% percent. Last year Police put 200 clandestine methamphetamine laboratories out of action compared to 147 in 2002.
There was a 5.4 percent decrease in cannabis related offences. Sale of Liquor Act offences increased by 138.4 percent, an increase from 1,801 to 4.293 offences, primarily due to the introduction of a new offence code â€˜breach of liquor ban â€“ local government.â€™
Disorder increased by 5.8 percent. 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.
â€œAlthough policing activity is just one factor affecting trends in levels of offending, Police actively evaluate the impact of various initiatives in districts to identify examples of 'best practice', and are continually taking steps to improve effectiveness,â€ said Mr Robinson.
"In conclusion, publication of the crime statistics would not be complete without reference to road policing. Road policing represents 23 percent of the services provided by NZ Police.
â€œThe road toll for 2003 was a total of 460 deaths compared to 404 in 2002. This figure exceeds the goal of no more than 410 deaths. Despite this, it remains the third best on record and was achieved in the face of an 8 percent increase in petrol sales and larger increases in light diesel sales for 4WD,â€ said Mr Robinson.
Strong economic growth produced a 15 percent increase in risk as more vehicles travelled more kilometres over the total roading network.
â€œOur targeted approach and the application of zero tolerance for most trauma promoting offences has resulted in an increase in offence notices issued for safety belts, visible road safety, alcohol and speed.
â€œHowever, the evidence is that mean speeds are reducing and the road network is becoming calmer, which will in turn save lives.
â€œIf we can reduce mean speeds by even one km/h, we can save 3-5 percent of the road toll each year. This represents approximately twenty lives that would have been saved last year. In the face of these facts, it is not surprising that Police remain committed to reducing speed on New Zealand roads,â€ said Mr Robinson.
There are some very satisfying results in the 2003 calendar statistics including overall downward trend in crime rate and improved resolution rate. The results are a reflection of the hard work put in by police staff in their communities around the country and I thank each of them for their contribution,â€ said Mr Robinson.