Recorded crime drops around country

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 11:38 02/04/2013

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More than 30,000 fewer crimes were recorded throughout New Zealand last year, according to police figures - the lowest total in 24 years.

Annual statistics released by police today show an overall 7.4 per cent drop in the number of crimes recorded in 2012, compared with 2011.

Figures for theft, assault, domestic violence and vehicle theft dropped in most places, although the number of murders committed rose by three.

There were 376,013 recorded offences in 2012, compared with 406,056 in 2011.

Last year, 42 people were murdered compared to 39 the year before, but despite this, police said "homicide and related offending dropped by 15 offences".

Post-quake Canterbury was one of the few regions to post an increase in crime, with figures showing a 5.6 per cent rise in general crime.

Acting Commissioner Viv Rickard said the figures reflected front-line police work.

"By international standards New Zealand is a very safe country to live in and these latest figures suggest that fewer people are experiencing crime," he said.

Rickard said that in the case of Canterbury, conditions after the February 2011 earthquake had to be taken into account.

"After the earthquake there was a sudden large decrease in recorded crime, in particular theft and property damage," he said.

"Offences at the less-serious end of the spectrum reduced the most, reflecting the major changes to the city's infrastructure.

"Since February 2011, there has been a gradual rise in recorded offences in Canterbury but overall offence volumes are still below what they were before the quakes."

According to the figures, the number of crimes being solved by police remained stable at 47 per cent.

A departure in recent years from the way police report domestic violence has lead to a reduction in recorded domestic violence offences.

"Assaults in dwellings most commonly occur between family members," Rickard said.

"Police now have the ability to issue PSOs - Police Safety Orders.

"These enforce a cool-down period by providing temporary separation of parties in domestic situations where police believe there is a risk of escalation to serious violence.

In 2012 police issued 10,064 PSOs - up nearly 40 per cent on the number of PSOs delivered in 2011.

By The Numbers:

- Illicit drug offences rose 0.3 per cent nationally, with a significant increase in drug dealing offences (39.8 per cent) and a drop in drug use and possession.

- A 43.8 per cent increase in crime in Wellington can be attributed to Operation Foxy, which recovered more than $3 million worth of drugs and stolen goods from a large-scale cannabis and money laundering operation.

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- Sexual assault and related offences rose by 1.3 per cent (46 offences).

- Acts intended to cause injury, which were mainly assault-related offences, dropped 3.4 per cent (down 1427 offences).

- Abduction, harassment and other related offences against a person - dominated by threatening behaviour - dropped by 3.6 per cent (471 offences).

- Robbery, extortion and related offences were down 10.1 per cent.

- Unlawful entry with intent/burglary/break-and-enter offences dropped 11.1 per cent, including an 8.8 per cent reduction in dwelling burglaries

- Theft and related offences dropped by 11.8 per cent (15,966 offences). This category makes up approximately one third of all recorded offences.

- Nationally, there were 2917 fewer stolen vehicles than the previous year - a drop of 14.1 per cent. Thefts from cars reduced by 15.8 per cent.

- Property damage and environmental pollution offences fell by 5.9 per cent.

- Public order offences decreased by 1 per cent.

BY THE NUMBERS

By Andy Ball and Harkanwal Singh

- Stuff

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