Wednesday, 1 April 2009 - 10:05am |

Wellington Police District Crime Statistics

6 min read

Ensuring the greater Wellington region is a safe and enjoyable place to live, work and visit continues to be a high priority for the Wellington Police District, said Superintendent Pieri Munro, Wellington Police District Commander.

Crime statistics released today show there was a 9.1 percent rise in recorded crime in the 12 months ending December 2008 - up 3984 offences from 43,826 in 2007 to 47,810 offences. Police resolved 43.8 percent or 20,936 offences.

The rise in total recorded crime was driven by increases in three offence categories:  • Dishonesty - up by 10 percent from 22,293 recorded offences in 2007 to 24,488 in 2008  • Property Damage - up by 20 percent from 5,557 in 2007 to 6,663  • Drugs and Anti Social Offences - up by 11 percent from 5,643 to 6,239.

A snapshot of the five Areas within the Wellington District shows:  • Kapiti Mana recorded an increase of 5.7 percent (up 488 offences) to 9068. A total of 4386 offences were resolved (48.4 percent).  • Lower Hutt recorded an increase of 6.9 percent (up 711 offences) to 11,026. A total of 4326 offences were resolved (38.9 percent).  • Upper Hutt recorded an increase of 17.8 percent (up 630 offences) with 1964 offences resolved (47.1 percent).  • Wairarapa recorded an increase of 15.8 percent (up 603 offences) with 48.9 percent resolved.  • Wellington City Area recorded an increase of 8.8 percent (up 1552 offences) with 42.5 percent resolved.

Superintendent Munro said that the rise in total crime was disappointing in many respects as the five Areas worked hard to use Intelligence to help catch offenders, prevent and detect crime. "We also value our community partnerships and these will be strengthened further this year as new community engagement and problem solving teams come on board.

"The inter-agency work across the district around family violence, tackling alcohol issues and community safety in the CBDs, our engagement with ethnic and new migrant communities are all positive initiatives," he said.

"We can and will do more around the role of Intelligence in our operations and using our tactical resources to best effect."

One new initiative this year is the Awakairangi Project which provides an opportunity to have a thorough and objective look at how policing services are delivered in the Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt communities. Superintendent Munro said it is hoped this report, which he expects to have by 30 June, will be relevant to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of policing services across the Hutt Valley and indeed the wider Wellington District.

Superintendent Munro said police were making some positive inroads in reducing alcohol fuelled violence on the streets and in the home.

Police are pleased that violent offending remained relatively stable with just a one percent increase (up 65 offences) compared with a near 11 percent increase in 2007.

Grievous assaults, serious assaults and homicides were down. Superintendent Munro said most of the violence increase was driven by family violence where the results are consistent with the national picture.

Improved training to all frontline staff in family violence investigation and risk assessment; the involvement of coordinated family safety teams, greater awareness and involvement by CIB, youth and community teams and the impact of national multi agency campaigns such as White Ribbon Day and Violence Is Not OK are making a difference in reporting rates, he said.

"People are now reporting family violence to us where once this violence would have been kept at home, behind doors and under covers," Superintendent Munro said.

For example, in the Kapiti Mana Police Area, in 2007 there were 18 offenders who recorded five or more family violence incidents that year. Last year the number of five or more recidivist offenders had dropped to only seven offenders. Only one offender from 2007 was reoffending at that same rate in 2008.

While Kapiti Mana's overall violence statistics, including serious assaults which most family violence falls into increased during the year, the reoffending rate of some of our worst family violence offenders decreased. This indicates that the focus on family violence is having a positive effect, he said.

In Lower Hutt for example, dealing with Family Violence is spread across all work groups. There's also been a move to co-locate specialist family violence investigative and supervisory staff with frontline response groups who are the first officers to sent to most of the calls for help in family violence situations. This approach helps staff have access to specialist advice and make the best possible decisions.

The Family Violence unit is also best placed for follow up work such as pursuing Protection Orders or liaising with external partners including non government organisations.

Wellington Police District continues to have a strong focus on working with event organisers to safely police large public gatherings, including the NZI Sevens, Cuba Street Carnival, Toast Martinborough, Wings over Wairarapa and Creekfast. These are but a few of the big events which attract many thousands of locals and visitors to enjoy venues and entertainment areas.

"Our approach to planning, our on the day response from police staff and our work with local government and agencies in private, state and volunteer sector pays huge dividends in ensuring the right safety measures are in place for both event and public place areas, " Superintendent Munro said.

"Strong enforcement of liquor bans helps prevent more serious crime" he said. "This concentration on enforcing the preventative end has seen an increase in low level offending, such as the 17.4 percent rise in Sale of Liquor Offences across the District.

"Police are satisfied that this extra enforcement effort has paid off in reducing the opportunities for serious crime, especially grievous assaults."

In Lower Hutt violence dropped 11.1 percent and can be attributed to the increased focus on alcohol issues and anti social behaviour. High visibility presence especially in the CBD is provided by frontline response and community engagement team members, the CIB and key external partners including community patrols, Walkwise, Maori Wardens and the Hutt City Council.

Similarly, Wellington City Area works closely with the Wellington City Council and other partners to make the CBD safe and enjoyable for residents, commuters and visitors - particularly in the entertainment areas which are a drawcard from Wednesday nights through to the weekend. A joint Police, Council and ACC initiative includes the high profile 'Safe in the City' campaign. Special messages have been directed at young women with a 'Stick with the Girls, Stay Safe in the City' theme. This has flowed over into presentations at tertiary institution orientation weeks.

Alcohol related offending is and will continue to be strongly policed, along with breaches of the 24 x 7 liquor ban.

A new problem solving team will be operating from the Cuba Street base within the next few months, complementing the work already undertaken by community, investigative and response teams.

Dishonesty offending in Wellington District increased 9.8 percent from 22,293 offences to 24,488 last year. This was mainly driven by increases in fraud and burglary offending.

Police have set up dedicated burglary teams and while, in the case of Wellington City, the number of burglaries is still too high, house burglaries have reduced.

Police have targeted burglary operations in the city area, and have worked with the city council, tertiary institutions and commercial apartment owners providing crime prevention and security advice.

In Lower Hutt for example covert and overt deployment has been used to identify burglars and gather evidence. There has also been an increased focus on the timeliness of follow-up to burglaries to the home which is critical in reassuring occupiers.

Superintendent Munro said there are signs that the patterns of dishonesty offending are changing in the current economic climate. All five policing Areas put a lot of time into targeting scrap metal offenders and dealers last year when metal was a valued commodity. Upper Hutt police led an initiative working with service stations to eliminate or minimise the opportunity for petrol drive offs when pump prices were high.

The increase in property damage, which rose to 6663 offences last year from 5557 in 2007 was driven by the increase in wilful damage. Much of this related to graffiti and window breaking sprees, and tagging, some of which is alcohol related. Police continue through the use of community constables, community patrols and prevention initiatives with partner agencies to address these problems.

"There's a lot of hard work by our staff, community volunteers and partner agencies going into initiatives to reduce unsightly tagging," Superintendent Munro said. "Tools like CCTV, schemes such as 'dob in a tagger' and the quick painting over by council and volunteer teams do a lot to instill community pride and safety."

Superintendent Pieri Munro, District Commander, 04 496 3400

Inspector Mike Hill, Wellington City Area Commander 04 802 3738

Inspector Richard Chambers, Lower Hutt Area Commander 04 560 2668

Superintendent Hamish McCardle, Kapiti Mana Area Commander 04 238 1432

Acting Inspector Warwick Burr, Upper Hutt Area Commander 04 527 2333

Inspector John Johnston, Wairarapa Area Commander 06 370 0301