Thursday, 25 August 2005 - 1:01pm |

Crime drops nearly 13 percent in Wellington Police District

8 min read

Crime in the Wellington Police District has dropped 12.7 percent in the last 12 months to an 11-year low of 40,307 offences.

Fiscal year crime statistics released today show significant decreases in dishonesty offending particularly theft and burglaries as the main reason for reduced offending in the last 12 months.

Superintendent Rob Pope, Wellington Police District Commander, says the results are very encouraging for police and the public.

Total crime in the District (Wellington Area, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Kapiti Mana and the Wairarapa) dropped 5887 offences from 46,194 to 40,307 in the1 July 2004 /30 June 2005 reporting period. During the 1994/1995 fiscal year a total of 51,779 offences were recorded.

In the last 12 months overall offending dropped in six of the seven crime categories:

• dishonesty - down 19.5 percent or 5202 offences to 21,507
• property abuse - down 13.3 percent or 266 offences to 1735
• administrative offences - down 10 percent or 184 offences to 1660
• drug and anti social offences - down 8.7 percent or 458 offences to 4788
• sexual offending - down 5.1 percent or 17 offences to 316 offences
• property damage - down 0.8 percent or 39 offences to 4800 offences.

Total crime dropped in four the five police Areas in the District:

• Wellington City - down 13.8 percent or 2465 offences to 15,457
• Lower Hutt - down 15.4 percent or 1664 offences to 9146
• Kapiti Mana - down 13.5 percent or 1251 offences to 8024
• Upper Hutt - down 13.4 percent or 549 offences to 3540.

Wairarapa Area recorded a slight 1 percent increase or 42 offences to 4140.
Dishonesty offending dropped 19.3 percent and Wairarapa has achieved significant crime reductions in recent years.
Superintendent Pope says the police focus on burglaries, the unlawful taking of motor vehicles and theft is a key factor in the improved crime picture for the wider Wellington District.

Burglaries dropped 26.9 percent or 1742 offences from 6441 last year to 4669. Vehicle crime decreased 15.1 percent or 481 offences to 2711, theft dropped 15.2 percent offences to 2308 to 12,896 and receiving went down 43 percent or 179 offences to 237.

"Volume crime was getting out of hand so we've worked really hard to peg it back," Superintendent Pope says. "It's great to see reductions being made in key strategic areas. The results reflect some excellent work by police staff across the District."

He says police are continuing to refine strategies and processes to be more visible and achieve further crime and crash reductions. "Sustaining reductions will be a challenge but it's one we're not shying away from."

Improvements in the way police collect, analyse and use crime intelligence at operational and strategic levels is helping achieve crime reductions.

"We're more focused and urgent in the way we approach crime problems and we're sharing a lot more information throughout the District as a result. Criminals are very mobile and don't always offend close to home so collective knowledge about offenders and their propensity for crime is vital.

"Targeted operations, timely response, the use of specialist squads, detailed crime scene examinations, the identification of repeat victims and working with at risk youth and families are all part of the crime reduction equation."

Superintendent Pope says local councils, partner government agencies, Neighbourhood Support Groups, Community Patrols, and liaison with Iwi, Pacific people and other ethnic groups are also making a tangible difference to crime reductions.

"We're not working in isolation and the contribution from our partners cannot be under-estimated. There's a physical, emotional and financial cost to crime. The more we work together the better it is for our communities.

"Police don't pretend to have nailed offending. Violence, both in the home and on the street, remains a concern as does the increased use of methamphetamine."

Commentary by Area Commanders follows...

Fiscal Year 2004/2005 crime statistics: Wellington District by Areas

11am 25 August 2005

Dishonesty focus drives down crime in Wellington City Area

Pressure on burglars, thieves and vehicle crime offenders is the main reason for the 13.8 percent drop in overall offending in Wellington City Area.

Total crime has fallen for the third successive year in the Area, this time down 2465 offences to 15,457.

Inspector Greg Gilpin, Acting Wellington City Area Commander, says the results are very please. A focus on dishonesty offending, particularly burglaries, car crime and thefts, is paying dividends.

• Burglaries continue to drop – down 21 percent or 503 offences in the last 12 months to 1898 offences.
• Vehicle crime is down 16.1 percent or 239 offences to 1243
• Receiving is down 56.4 percent or 110 offences to 85
• Theft is down 16.7 percent or 1102 offences to 5480.

Inspector Gilpin says the reductions are being achieved through a coordinated response from all police staff to targeting crime, especially recidivist offenders.

The liaison with Wellington City Council, particularly the input from Walkwise staff and use of CCTV is also helping reduce offending opportunities.

Violent crime has risen 1.8 percent, mainly in assaults and robberies. A spike in this type of street offending was identified early this year in the central city and a highly effective Operation Hurricane was launched to deal with it.

This involved general response staff, liquor licensing, the CIB, road policing and youth and community services offenders saturating the city on Friday and Saturday nights.

Drugs (new drugs) offending nearly doubled from 98 to 187 offences reflecting the growing use of methamphetamine.

Lower Hutt drives down crime by 15.4 percent

Hutt-Crim, a new crime intelligence model adopted in Lower Hutt, is driving down crime with overall offending dropping 15.4 percent in the last 12 months.

A total of 9146 offences were recorded, 1664 less than in the same period last year. The number of crimes resolved went up from 48.9 to 49.3 percent.

Burglary, vehicle crime, violence and the roads are the key focus for Lower Hutt staff.

Dishonesty offending recorded a 21.4 percent drop (down from 6248 to 4910) with the decrease in burglaries being the main contributor. Burglaries went down 35.3 percent or 601 offences from 1698 to 1097.

Inspector Mike Hill, Acting Lower Hutt Area Commander, says Hutt-Crim was adopted last August. Each day key supervisors discuss burglary reports for the previous 24 hours and, using data presented by Intel, the Area Commander tasks a level of policing response and demands accountability.

"This focus is not only reducing the number of burglaries but it’s also identifying repeat victims.

"The partnership with Neighbourhood Support has established more Groups in the suburbs; ‘hot’ burglary locations are patrolled by a variety of police staff from Traffic Alcohol and Road Policing through to General Duties, CIB, youth and community staff.

"Hot offenders are relentlessly pursued and interviewed by our Tactical Response Group and CIB officers," Inspector Hill says. "Forensic hits through fingerprints are promptly actioned so that offenders are promptly caught before they have to chance to commit more crime."

Arrest warrants are sought and obtained from Court for on-going breaches of bail by key offenders. Those who fail to appear in Court feature in the daily taskings until they are caught.

"More offenders are being targeted and prosecuted for failing to answer bail or breaching bail. We’re noticing many offenders are becoming more compliant with attending Court.

The same focused approach to hot locations and offenders is also proving successful in tackling vehicle crime and theft. "There’s a bit more public awareness too in properly securing property, or removing from sight expensive or sought after items like radar detectors," Inspector Hill says.

He says the 1.9 percent drop in violence was also very pleasing.

Upper Hutt achieves 13.4 percent drop in crime

There’s been a 13.4 percent drop in Upper Hutt with 549 fewer offences reported in the last 12 months compared with the same period last year.

Inspector Brett Kane, Upper Hutt Area Commander, says police effort and community partnerships, particularly with other Justice sector agencies, is helping achieve reductions in crime.

"In the last 12 to 18 months we’ve had a lot more involvement with Corrections officers from Rimutaka, probation officers, Child, Youth and Family staff, Housing New Zealand and Upper Hutt City Council.

"We’re often dealing with the same offenders or their families so shared knowledge helps all of us prevent and detect crime."

Dishonesty offending dropped 13.9 percent. A total of 64 fewer burglaries were recorded, theft dropped by 154 offences, receiving stolen property went down 11 offences and fraud by 22 offences.

"Targeting crime, more detailed Intel analysis and proactive use of curfews and bail checks is reducing the opportunity for offenders to commit crime."

Upper Hutt has streamlined its approach to dealing with breaches of bail with people being prosecuted as a result.

Car crime remained static with 240 offences.

Property damage fell by 10 percent and drugs and anti social offending went down 32.7 percent or 186 offences to 382.

Inspector Kane says it’s difficult to determine the reason for the drop in cannabis related offending (down from 208 to 115 offences). "We have initiated some strategies with schools in an effort to dissuade young people from getting involved with drugs but this is a long-term strategy."

Kapiti Mana reduces crime 13.5 percent

Burglars, thieves and vehicle crime offenders have been the key targets for Kapiti Mana police, helping to achieve a 13.5 percent drop in total crime.

Offending went down 1251 offences to 8024, a three-year crime low.

Drugs and disorder, dishonesty, property damage, property abuse and administrative offending all fell.

Dishonesty offending went down 19.7 percent from 5095 to 4089. Burglaries dropped from 1361 to 930, car crime from 470 to 411, fraud from 217 to 167, receiving from 90 to 67 and theft from 2954 to 2511.

Inspector John Spence, Kapiti Mana Area Commander, says the downturn in dishonesty is very satisfying for staff and reflects the focus and urgency given to putting the heat on offenders.

"Specific offenders were targeted and this approach combined with fingerprint and DNA hits is contributing to the decrease. Solving 24 percent of burglaries is also a significant achievement."

Targeting recidivist offenders, prosecuting those who breach bail and rigorous enforcement of court orders such as curfews also help.

Neighbourhood Support Groups and Community Patrols in both Porirua and Kapiti are instrumental in providing the more informal surveillance in hot spot areas and feeding back information to police staff.

Tagging and graffiti damage has in the past been a problem in Kapiti Mana. This is being reduced due to the combined efforts of police community staff, the Graffiti Action Team in Porirua and the Porirua East School Project which has, partnerships with Porirua Guardians, the Porirua City Council and the Ministry of Education. Similar work in Paraparaumu and Waikanae has seen taggers identified and clean-up operations run.

Marginal increase in Wairarapa Crime

Crime in the Wairarapa went up slightly at 1 percent or 42 offences to 4140, but is still lower than what it was three years ago.

Inspector John Johnston, Wairarapa Area Commander, says however that the crime resolution rate rose from 51.4 percent to 55.5 percent in the last 12 months – the highest resolution rate in the Wellington District.

He says the CCTV cameras and a firm, consistent approach to liquor bans is influencing offending. "Our approach to alcohol related offending, and the cameras, are making the central business areas a lot safer.

"Targeting our known offenders, checking bail and curfews, close attention given to fingerprints and DNA, especially in youth offenders, remain an integral part of our crime and crash reduction strategy.

"Crime in the Wairarapa is usually down to a certain group of people. Arrests and court consequences, especially imprisonment, affects crime patterns."


Media note: please see the police website: for statistical data relating to Wellington District and the Areas which comprise the Wellington District

Wellington District/Area statistics are on the NZ Police internet site: