Crime and road safety statistics to June 30, 1998, are showing downward trends and Police Commissioner Peter Doone says itâ€™s good news that, in most categories, the level of recorded crime is down and more of it than ever is being resolved.
Police statistics show total recorded crime dropped by three and a half per cent for the year ended 30 June, from 482,831 to 465,834 offences.
Figures also show that 38 per cent of crime was resolved in the corresponding period, more than in the preceding 12 months when 36.9 per cent of recorded crime was resolved.
"Especially pleasing are the longer term trends," Mr Doone says. "In the five years from 1993 to 1998, overall crime fell by more than 1 per cent compared to an increase of more than 27 per cent over the previous five years.
"Of particular interest are key areas of offending where Police have been concentrating their efforts namely sexual offending, family violence, dishonesty and burglary."
Mr Doone says less crime and a higher resolution rate indicates on-going Police crime prevention and law enforcement initiatives are paying off.
"It is also a tribute to Police staff, especially those in the front line, as it is through their efforts and tactics these results over the last five years have been achieved.
"New operational initiatives including youth at risk crime prevention programmes and intelligence-led investigation and problem solving have also proved extremely worthwhile," Mr Doone says.
The number of recorded sexual offences dropped by 7.4 per cent to 3,221 in the year to June 30 and of these, 1,789 were resolved.
Most recorded criminal offences - 63 per cent - are in the "dishonesty" category and include burglary, motor vehicle related offences, theft, receiving stolen goods and fraud. The number of recorded dishonesty offences dropped by 6 per cent to 293,250 offences.
Crime categorised under "drugs and antisocial behaviour", which include children and young persons offences as well as offences governed by the Domestic Violence Act (breaches of protection orders), have increased by 6.4 per cent to 55,936 offences.
Total recorded violent crime remained virtually unchanged at 40,221 offences. However, recorded homicides fell from 159 offences in 1996/97 to 116 offences this year. Recorded kidnapping and abduction offences increased by 30 per cent.
Though crime in the Northern Region - the region with the highest amount of crime - dropped by 6 per cent to 159,809 recorded offences, the Central Region achieved the biggest percentage drop in recorded crime with 6.8 per cent fewer offences than in the previous year.
"Our overall approach to crime and road toll reduction is based on law enforcement and investigation, smarter use of our intelligence systems and more focused crime prevention and working more closely with the community and other agencies," Mr Doone says.
"By focusing on gathering information, conducting effective analysis, targeting and prioritising resources, and problem solving we are able to concentrate on what gets the best results, rather than trying to spread resources evenly, and thinly, across every single thing that is brought to Police attention."
Mr Doone says itâ€™s extremely pleasing to note the drop in the road toll for the period to 505 - the lowest itâ€™s been in 30 years.
Figures show that in all key target areas of road safety improvement - reduction of the number of drink/drive offences, higher rates of speed detection and safety belt enforcement - there have been marked improvements on the previous 12 month period.
The number of complaints against Police has also dropped, by nearly 9 per cent in the 1997/98 year to 1,757. The proportion which are found to be sustained after inquiry has also dropped from 205 in 1996/97 to 133 in 1997/98.
As notified in June, the scope of the information presented in the 1997/98 crime figures has changed from previous years.
Police crime figures now exclude all information on events identified and processed by police as "no offence disclosed". These relate to matters reported to police which are found not to have involved any actual offence. In some cases it also relates to complainants withdrawing complaints, or there being insufficient evidence.
To enable tracking of trends over previous years, Police have also excluded "no offence disclosed" data from the figures presented with this release covering the last 10 years. Hence the analyses and data in this release can be compared with earlier yearsâ€™.
However, it is not comparable with the previous published Police "time series" statistics, so care should be exercised when referring to older published crime statistics.
Total RECORDED crime was down by more than 3.5 per cent
More recorded crime than ever was RESOLVED HOMICIDES - [includes murder, attempted murder, manslaughter] are down - by 27 per cent to 116 offences in the year.
The number of recorded SEXUAL OFFENCES is down by 7.4 per cent to 3,221.
More offences covered by the DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT (breaches of protection orders) are BEING RECORDED - Police message is ``Family violence is a crime - call for help."
Numbers of issued PROTECTION ORDERS HAS INCREASED - 7,149 applications were made in 1997/98
Thirteen of the 17 Police DISTRICTS SHOW A DROP in the number of recorded offences.
The ROAD TOLL for the operational period July 1997 to June 1998 was 505 - the LOWEST in 30 years.
All categories in the DISHONESTY crime group (including burglary and motor vehicle-related offences) showed decreases.
Office of the Commissioner