Tuesday, 1 April 2008 - 10:10am |
National News

Total crime rate flat, resolutions rise

3 min read

Total crime

The incidence of recorded crime has stayed essentially flat in the last calendar year, says Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls.

Although there was a small increase in the total number of offences recorded, New Zealand's population also increased over the same period. As a result, the number of offences per head of population reduced slightly.

There were 426,380 recorded offences in the 2007 calendar year, compared with 424,134 in the previous year, an increase of 0.5 percent. However, when adjusted for New Zealand's resident population increase of just over one percent, recorded offences per 100,000 population decrease by 0.5 percent.

A more significant change is that Police resolved nearly 10,000 more offences than in the previous 2006 calendar year.

"It is pleasing to see Police resolved 9,539 more offences in 2007 than the previous year," Mr Nicholls said.

Violent crime

New Zealand has had the lowest murder rate for a decade. There were 45 murders in 2007, and 41 resolved in the same year.

In the Violence Offence category, there were fewer offences of homicide (10 percent fewer), robbery (7 percent fewer) and kidnapping (2 percent fewer) in 2007 than in the previous year, however there were more group assemblies (26 percent), assaults (14 percent) and Intimidation and threats (11 percent).

"The increase in the Violence category was driven almost entirely by recorded family violence," said Mr Nicholls.

There was an increase of 6000 offences in the Violence category in 2007, of these 5800 offences were family violence representing an increase of 31.5 % in family violence offences within the Violence category.

Nationally the largest increase was in the Violence category with the recorded offences rising 12.3 percent from 2006, with an increase in all districts except Canterbury.

The resolution rate for violent crimes has remained steady and sits at 81.3 percent for 2007.

Family violence

Family violence can be recorded in other offence types as well as in the Violence category. Overall police recorded a 24.3 percent increase in recorded offences involving family violence across all categories.

"This is not surprising when we take into account that there has been a huge focus on family violence with publicity and media campaigns designed to reduce tolerance to domestic violence," Mr Nicholls said.

Sexual crime

Sexual offences make up 0.8 percent of recorded crime. "We know that these crimes are under reported to police and the 1.7 percent increase in recorded sexual offences over the last year may therefore reflect increased reporting and reduced tolerance for such offending," Mr Nicholls said.

The resolution rate for sexual offences rose 2.4 percent, with a national resolution rate of 62.5 percent.

Drugs and antisocial

Drugs and anti-social offences increased 7.4 percent in 2007. This increase was mainly driven by an additional 2,414 (a 37 percent increase) recorded breaches of the liquor bans.

"Over the holiday period, at certain hotspots, bans were enforced by police and this increase largely reflects breaches of those bans.

Recorded disorder offences have continued a gradual upward trend. "Those districts with the largest increases attribute this largely to pro-active early police intervention focusing on alcohol related disorder," said Mr Nicholls.


Dishonesty, which makes up 53% of all offences, reduced 5.1 percent in 2007 driven by an eight percent reduction in car conversion and a five percent reduction in burglary. The overall reduction in recorded dishonesty offences continues a long term trend, with a decrease per head of population of more than 30 percent over the past decade.

Property damage

Recorded property damage increased 8.5 percent in 2007. This continues a long-term trend which began increasing more rapidly in 2004, believed to be driven by graffiti.

"A new offence code has been created to capture statistics specifically relating to graffiti. In future years, police will be able to monitor trends in graffiti offending," Mr Nicholls said.


For more information

Phone on 04 474 9442 / 04 474 9482 / 04 474 8856

NOTE: Statistics New Zealand will make available via its internet site, police recorded crime data at 10.45 am today - http://www.stats.govt.nz