Monday, 3 April 2006 - 9:00am |
National News

Recorded Crime remains steady

4 min read

The total volume of recorded crime in the last calendar year remained at a similar level to 2004, rising 0.3% in the total number of offences. This equates to a 0.6% reduction per head of population, the Acting Commissioner of Police, Steve Long, said today.

The total number of offences in 2005 was 407,496, compared with 406,232 in 2004 and 442, 489 in 2003. This drops New Zealand's recorded crime rate below the 1,000 offences per 10,000 population mark to 994.2, compared with 1,000.5 in 2004 and 1,103.7 in 2003.

The percentage of resolved offences reduced slightly, from 44.6% in 2004 to 43.3% in 2005; similar to the 43.5% figure for 2003.

The Acting Commissioner said that until June 2005, crime statistics were extracted from Police's ageing Law Enforcement IT System (the "Wanganui" computer). In June the system was replaced making it easier to manage information.

"The computer system change caused an increase in the number of records from June 2005. Nevertheless, the overall number of recorded offences in 2005 remained at about the same level as 2004, testimony to the good work of frontline officers throughout New Zealand," said Mr Long.

Although the change in overall crime was very small, there was variation across the country and variation between different types of offences.

"Two upper North Island districts recorded the largest increases in recorded crime. Counties Manukau recorded an increase of 11.8% and Waikato 8.1%. Counties Manukau's increase seems to be related to burglary and theft, including vehicle theft. The district attributes this to a range of factors and notes an increase in youth offending. A major factor in Waikato's increase was a 20% increase in burglary. A feature seemed to be an increase in offending by teenagers in Hamilton City. Like Counties Manukau the district has identified linkages with unlawful taking of motor vehicles, which often occurs in order for offenders to commit other offences."

Mr Long said since the issue of youth gangs raised its head last year Counties Manukau District had stepped up its activities with community partners. Community services police staff are proactively patrolling and walking through schools gaining a rapport with students, gathering information from a variety of sources and providing a presence to better manage potential trouble.

"We're now starting to see the effect of the entry of the baby blip which occurred in the early '90s coming through into the 15-24 year age group. Police and other agencies will have to work hard over the next few years to help deter and deal with criminal offending by this generation," said Mr Long.

The total number of Violence offences increased 6.9%, most markedly in Counties/Manukau District (17.3%). Most other districts recorded lesser increases, with Bay of Plenty and North Shore/Waitakere/Rodney experiencing decreases of 2.4% and 2,2% respectively.

There were 197 more recorded Sexual offences in 2005 (3,271) than in 2004 (3,074).

"Given the comparatively small number of sexual offences it is really difficult for Police to work out what the reasons are for the increase. It may reflect a slight increase in reporting, as incidents of this type of offence are frequently not reported to Police," said Acting Commissioner Long.

Nationally, the number of Drugs and Antisocial offences reduced 4.8%, driven mainly by reductions in Disorder (-5.8%) and Cannabis offences (-10.3%). "New drugs" offences rose 28.8% from 1998 offences in 2004 to 2573 in 2005.

The reductions in cannabis offences is taking place at the same time as a second market in methamphetamine and other drugs continues to grow. This is supported by the fact that there have been very large seizures of methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs by Police and Customs in the last year.

The total volume of Dishonesty offences remained at the same level as 2004, yet within this category a 7.8% increase in Car Conversion type offences offset a 30.0% reduction in Fraud offences.

The road toll for 2005 was 405 deaths compared with 435 in 2004. The decrease reflects a calmer situation on the roads over the last year.

"The evidence is that speeds are reducing and the mean speed on the state highways has now reduced to 97 kmph.

"Speed camera tickets dropped by 17.7% (from 464,179 infringements in 2004 to 382,150 in 2005). Officer infringements issued decreased by 16.4% (from 397,213 in 2004 to 332,165 in 2005), indicating a flattening off in officer-issued infringement growth.

Where you can access more detailed statistics

Further details are contained in reports available today on Police's Internet site, at the following address:

Additionally, Statistics New Zealand will at 11am today make available via its Internet site, Police recorded crime data at a detailed level

Future releases

In line with the recent review of New Zealand's Official Statistics System by the State Services Commission, Treasury and Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand's recorded crime statistics will be published according to a publicly available calendar. This set of statistics will, in future, be published on the first working day three months after the end of the period on which they report.

Accordingly, these statistics for the year ending 31 December 2005 are being published today. The next release will be for the 12 months ending 30 June 2006, and will occur on Monday 2 October 2006.

Contact for further information:

Media Relations (04) 4749442

A/Hrs (026) 10 10 82