New Zealand’s lowest murder rate in decades

New Zealand’s lowest murder rate in decades

National News

The murder rate in New Zealand is the lowest it has been in 40 years, with official figures released today showing the number of homicides in New Zealand is declining.

A new report details official homicide victims statistics between 2007 and 2016, plus provisional figures for 2017. It covers the homicide of 686 people over the 10 year period, including murder and manslaughter offences.

On average, there were 74 homicides a year between 2007 and 2011, dropping to 63 between 2012 and 2016. The lowest number was 58 in 2016, with the provisional number for 2017 even lower at 48.

The report shows the murder rate is currently at its lowest since the early 1970s, and is less than half that of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson: National Manager of Criminal Investigations says although the number of homicides is declining, it doesn’t change the fact that every one of these numbers represents a grieving family.

“Victims are at the heart of everything Police does and we are committed to bringing a sense of closure to their families by holding those responsible to account.

“It is this commitment and dedication which saw Police resolve more than 96 percent of homicide cases,” he says.

Sixty-three people were killed by their current or ex-partner between 2007 and 2011, dropping to 52 between 2012 and 2016. Around 75 percent of these victims were female.

“We know that family harm is a serious issue that affects people of all ages and across all parts of society," says Detective Superintendent Anderson.

“Disturbingly, children under the age of five made up 12 percent of homicide victims. These children represent the most vulnerable members of society, who are too often killed by the people whose job it is to keep them safe.

“Police are working hard alongside our partner agencies to help at-risk families and individuals get the support they need to improve their lives. I hope to see homicide numbers continue to fall, and Police will continue working hard every day to make this happen.”

The report is available here

ENDS

Report at a glance:

• Between 2007 – 2016 there were 686 people killed by homicide (i.e. murder and manslaughter).

• Māori account for approximately a third of homicide victims.

• Males represented 62% of all victims.

• The lowest annual homicide figure of 58 was in 2016, with provisional 2017 data even lower at 48.

• Around 7 out of 10 homicides were murders.

• Of all family-linked homicide victims 40% were male and 60% were female.

• Around 1 in 5 homicides was committed by a current or ex-partner – 75% of victims were female.

• Children under the age of five made up 12% of homicide victims.

Note: Homicide figures are not released monthly like other statistics because investigations typically take many months and homicide data can take up to two years to stabilise.

Note: the report excludes road fatalities.