"Cautiously satisfied" is how Auckland City District Police commander, Superintendent Howard Broad, says he feels about the latest crime figures for the city.
Overall offending is down by 1.7 per cent and clearances are down by 1.3 per cent. In all, there were 947 fewer offences reported in the city for the year ended June 30 2001, compared to the same period last year.
Mr Broad said it had been a year of balancing priorities.
"There was an abnormally high number of inquiries requiring large team efforts that, at times, took staff from strategic areas of policing like burglary and motor vehicle crime.
"Of the six homicides that were reported - all of which have now been cleared - five were major inquiries and this district also assisted North Shore/Waitakere with a major homicide investigation based at Henderson, the Marie Jamieson homicide.
"These inquiries draw experienced staff away from routine work, thereby affecting the clearance rates for some crime categories, but at worst the diversion of some staff to major inquiries over the past 12 months has stabilised rather than enhanced the very positive downward trends of the previous year."
The district had delivered on its obligations to road safety in accordance with national policy and the downward trend of road fatalities had continued.
Demand for Police services in the district was high with officers responding to 14,764 more incidents [as distinct from offences] than in the previous year - an increase of 4.45 per cent.
"Overall, there are some very positive indicators in the financial year’s crime figures," Mr Broad said.
"The number of sexual attacks has fallen, as has sexual offending generally.
"The number of burglary and car crime offences continues to fall – including a large drop of 23 per cent of unlawfully taken motor vehicles. However, this positive result is offset by a drop in the number of clearances compared to those achieved in 1999/2000."
He said the most worrying trend in the figures was the increase in violent offending and attributed this to two main factors.
"One is to do with the way incidents are recorded. It is district policy to double check all reported domestic incidents to ensure that, where an offence is disclosed, it is correctly recorded as such.
"Greater attention to the correct recording of violent domestic offences can influence the ‘violent offence’ category, as does the greater willingness on the part of victims of such crime to report it to Police.
"The other factor is young people drinking in public places, particularly in the central city.
"Apprehensions of young people for grievous assaults have increased markedly over the year and I believe this is partly due to the fact that young people are legally drinking in public places and are therefore at risk of coming into conflict with others in the central city. There is a tendency now for disorder and disputes to escalate into serious violent attacks."
He said increased targeting of burglaries, the flow-on effects of dedicated road safety enforcement and continuing good results from community policing efforts were some of the reasons for the year’s positive results.
"Though I’m generally pleased with the results to date, there are still some pressure points where the Auckland City District Police must become more focused," he said.
"We need to make better use of the technology available to us to undertake more crime prevention activities, particularly in the area of repeat victimisation of burglary complainants.
"We intend to continue to build on our relationships with the City Council, business interest groups and inner city residents to try and reduce the number of violent offences, general disorder and dangerous driving in the inner city or Downtown area."
Issued by Noreen Hegarty
Auckland City District Communications Manager
Ph 09 302 6947 or 025 951 589